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Copyright 1933, The Johns Hopkins Press 







In 1791 William Bartram, a Philadelphia botanist, published 
an account of his Travels through North & South Carolina, 
Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Ex- 
tensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, 
and the Country of the Choctaws; Containing an Account of the 
Soil and Natural Productions of these Regions, together with 
Observations on the Manners of the Indians. The book was 
promptly reprinted in England and Ireland, was translated into 
German, Dutch and French, and is still interesting enough to 
be reprinted in our own day (1928) in Mr. Mark Van Doren's 
American Bookshelf. During its long life the book has made 
a strong impression upon discriminating readers, and its influ- 
ence upon the thought and literature of almost a century and a 
half is a phenomenon deserving the attention of the student of 
literary history. While Bartram himself claimed that he wrote 
his account primarily as a contribution to natural science, to 
furnish information on " the various works of Nature," on 
" whatever may contribute to our existence . . . whether it be 
found in the animal or vegetable kingdoms " (Introduction, p. 
xiii) , it nevertheless has qualities that have appealed to others 
besides scientists. Literary men especially have been stimulated 
by it, and their eulogies have largely prevented the work from 
sinking into oblivion. 

Coleridge, for example, thought it " a work of high merit 
every way " and drew from it, for his Biographia Liter aria, an 
analogy to Wordsworth's genius. Chateaubriand borrowed from 
it extensively for his works depicting the American scene. Car- 
lyle asked Emerson if he had read " Bartram' s Travels " and 
expressed a belief that 'All American libraries ought to provide 
themselves with that kind of book ; and keep them as a kind of 
future biblical articles." More than half a century later. Pro- 
fessor Lane Cooper wrote to the Nation in an attempt to stimu- 
late the reprinting of " Bartram's fascinating narrative," and 
still another quarter of a century later Professor John Livingston 


Lowes, in his Road to Xanadu, proved that " Coleridge got his 
alligators from one o£ the most delightful books which he 
or anybody else ever read, William Bartram's Travels ..." 
Finally, as recently as May, 1929, a reviewer of Mr. Van 
Doren's reprint of the Travels, writing in the Christian Science 
Monitor, enthusiastically compared Bartram with Coleridge and 
came to the conclusion that " There is a poetry in his [Bar- 
tram's] prose that even the master lyrist [Coleridge] does not 

A work that possesses such vitality deserves careful study. 
What are its qualities that have drawn this acclaim ? Much has 
been written, especially within the last quarter of a century, 
about Bartram as a traveler and naturalist; many comments have 
been made about his probable contribution to the literature of 
Nature and his influence upon English poetry, yet Bartram him- 
self remains unknown — an eighteenth-century shadow — and his 
work remains by reputation a treasured curiosity of uncertain 
value. Moreover, the brief articles that have so far been written 
about Bartram have generally treated him as the author of one 
work, the Travels, and while it is true that this book remains 
his most important achievement, yet he has also published a few 
short essays and has left in manuscript a diary, parts of his 
journals, a pharmacopoeia, numerous notes, and other miscel- 
lany, besides a voluminous correspondence. 

This study aims to determine with some measure of compre- 
hensiveness the influence of Bartram on the development of 
nature description; to show, in the light shed by all available 
materials, the special combination of gifts which he brought to 
his observation of the American landscape, so that he came to 
be recognized as " the first native born American to produce a 
book of literary distinction upon Natural History "; and to dis- 
cuss the factors outside of Bartram and his work which have 
contributed to his popularity among literary men, especially in 

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the assistance I have received 
in the course of this work. To Professor Gilbert Chinard, I owe 
a primary debt for first directing my attention to Bartram and 
for many helpful suggestions. Professor Raymond D. Havens 


has contributed much constructive criticism, particularly in 
regard to the form of this study. I owe a debt of gratitude to 
Professor Lane Cooper of Cornell University, whose pioneer 
articles on Bartram have proved invaluable to me, and who 
generously sent me the bibliography to his sketch of Bartram 
in the Dictionary of American Biography before its publication. 
To the generosity of Mr. Henry Jones of New York, I owe 
Bartram's hitherto unknown letter to his nephew. 

It is no less a pleasure to acknowledge the fine cooperation of 
the many librarians upon whose kindness I have often presumed ; 
in particular I wish to mention the librarians of the Pennsyl- 
vania Historical Society, of the Bartram Memorial Library at 
the University of Pennsylvania, of the American Philosophical 
Society, of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, of 
the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, of the Maryland Dio- 
cesan Library, and of The Johns Hopkins University Library. 

N. Bryllion Fagin 

Baltimore, April 1933. 

Part I. Life and Philosophy „.^^ 


Chapter I. Life and Character l 

II. Philosophy of Nature 37 

III. Studies of the American Indian ... 56 

Part IL Bartram's Landscape 

Chapter I. The Elements of Bartram's Landscape . 71 

II. The Art of Bartram 101 

Part IIL Bartram's Influence on Literature 

1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge 128 

2. William Wordsworth l49 

3. Other English Writers 176 

Dorothy Wordsworth 176 

Robert Southey 178 

William Lisle Bowles 181 

Thomas Campbell 182 

Felicia Hemans 184 

Charles Lamb 188 

Percy Bysshe Shelley 188 

Alfred Tennyson 190 

Thomas Carlyle 191 

4. American Literature .■ 191 

Emerson 192 

Thoreau 192 

Thomas Holley Chivers 192 

Lafcadio Hearn 194 

5. Continental Writers 195 

Chateaubriand and Others 195 

Conclusion 199 


Letter from Bartram to a Nephew 201 

Bibliography 205 

Index 217 





William Bartram was an unassuming Quaker whose life, in 
spite of his travel record, can hardly be called adventurous. 
He was born at Kingsessing, on the Schuylkill, near Philadel- 
phia, on February 9, 1739, and he died at the same place on 
July 22, 1823. From the very beginning the greatest single 
influence that moulded his life and character was his father, 
John Bartram. 

It is rather singular, in view of the services both father and 
son have rendered to early American natural science, that they 
should have been so unaccountably neglected by students of 
American cultural history. This long neglect has made the dis- 
covery of the exact facts of their lives difficult; legends have 
grown around them, as legends will grow around the memory 
of men who have been dead a century and more. The very 
ancestry of the Bartrams has developed a legendary tinge. Cre- 
vecoeur, in his famous Letters from an American Farmer, re- 
ported John Bartram (or Bertram) as saying to his mythical 
Russian visitor: " Thee must know that my father was a French- 
man, he brought this piece of painting over with him; I keep it 
as a piece of family furniture, and as a memorial of his removal 
hither." ^ As a matter of fact, however, it was John Bartram's 
grandfather, also named John, who had removed to America, 
in 1683, and not from France but from Derbyshire, England.^ 

^ Letter XI, p. 187, Everyman ed. "' The ' letter of a Russian gentleman ' in 
relation to a visit to John Bartram, bears intrinsic evidence of its fictitious char- 
acter." (" History of John Bartram," Meehan's Monthly, Philadelphia, IX 
[1899], 96.) 

^ D. C. Peattie in his sketch of John Bartram {Dictionary of American Biogra- 
phy, II, 26-28) gives 1682 as the year in which John Bartram's grandfather emi- 
grated to America. He also accepts William Bartram's article on his father in 
the Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal, 1804, as " the best authority." 
Yet the article begins with '" Richard Bartram, the grandfather of the subject of 
this sketch. ..." and continues with other genealogical details which differ 



The French element in his ancestry goes back to the Norman 
Conquest when two Norman brothers followed William the 
Conqueror to England. One settled in the north of England, 
the other in Scotland. The Scottish branch of the family still 
writes its name as " Bertram." ^ 

John Bartram was born at Marple, near Darby, Pennsylva- 
nia, on March 23, 1699. He received a meagre country school 
education and devoted himself to farming. His attainments, 
however, were most uncommon for an ordinary farmer. Before 
he died, in 1777, he was recognized as a scientist of importance 
(the great botanist Linnaeus calling him " the greatest natural 
botanist in the world " *) , he had established the first botanical 
garden in America,^ had helped Benjamin Franklin to found 
the American Philosophical Society (his name appearing sec- 
ond to Franklin's on the list of founders), had been elected to 
membership in the Royal Societies of London and Stockholm, 
and had been in active correspondence with many of the princi- 
pal scientists and philosophers in Europe and America. These 
attainments naturally enough caused a great deal of confusion 
in the minds of his contemporaries in their estimate of him. A 
farmer with a scientist's curiosity, " whose keen eye . . . pierced 
the husk of nature to the very kernel of life within," ^ is so ex- 
ceptional as to bafBe classification. 

Concerning the manner in which this simple farmer trans- 
formed himself into a world-famed naturalist there are many 

markedly from those given by other authorities, including Peattie himself. In 
this study I have followed Morgan Bunting's Genealogical Chart of the Bartram 
Family (Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania). 

' Letter from John Bartram to Archibald Bartram, in Memorials of John Bar- 
tram and Humphrey Marshall, by W. Darlington. Philadelphia, 1849. 

''Charles F. Richardson, American Literature: 1607-1883. New York, 1887, 
p. 512. 

" " The botanical gardens of the Rosicrucians and of Dr. Christopher Witt ante- 
dated the Bartram Garden; but in the case of the former only medicinal herbs 
were cultivated for the use of the brotherhood, whereas the latter garden had a 
rather limited influence in the advancement of botanical knowledge. So that in 
effect the current statement of the priority of the Bartram Garden is essentially 
true." Dr. William Shainline Middleton, " John Bartram, Botanist." Scientific 
Monthly, XXI (1925), 191. 

'Howard Pyle, "Bartram and his Garden," Harper's Magazine, LX, 321. 


stories. The one most commonly quoted is from Crevecoeur's 
Letters, in which John Bertram answers Iwan Alexiowitz's ques- 
tion: " Pray, Mr. Bertram, when did you imbibe the first wish 
to cultivate the science of botany; was you regularly bred to it 
in Philadelphia?" To which Bartram replied: 

One day I was very busy in holding my plough (for thee seest that I 
am but a ploughman) and being weary ran under the shade of a tree to 
repose myself. I cast my eyes on a daisy, I plucked it mechanically and 
viewed it with more curiosity than common country farmers are wont to 
do ; and observed therein very many distinct parts, some perpendicular, 
some horizontal. What a shame, said my mind, or something that 
inspired my mind, that thee shouldst have employed so many years in 
tilling the earth and destroying so many powers and plants, without 
being acquainted with their structures and their uses! This seeming 
inspiration suddenly awakened my curiosity . . . this new desire did 
not quit my mind; I mentioned it to my wife . . . her prudent cau- 
tion did not discourage me; I thought about it continually at supper, 
in bed, and wherever I went. At last I could not resist the impulse; 
for on the fourth day of the following week, I hired a man to plough 
for me, and went to Philadelphia. Though I knew not what book to 
call for, I ingeniously told the book-seller my errand, who provided me 
with such as he thought best, and a Latin grammar beside. Next I 
applied to a neighboring schoolmaster, who in three months taught me 
Latin enough to understand Linnaeus. . . . Then I began to botanise 
all over my farm ; in a little time I became acquainted with every vege- 
table that grew in my neighborhood; and next ventured into Mary- 
land. . . . ■^ 

This account of a miraculous conversion has been accepted by 
subsequent writers on John Bartram. In an article, for instance, 
on the " Study of Natural Science," an anonymous writer retells 
this story of the plucking of the flower — without mentioning 
the source of his information — and concludes dramatically that 
" . . . in the same hour the lover of nature became a natural- 
ist, and the spirit then awakened never slept to his latest day." ^ 
There are facts, however, contained in the literary remains of 
John Bartram and his son William, that point to a more normal 
transition of the lover of nature into a naturalist. On May 1, 

''Letters from an American Farmer, pp. 190, 191, 192. The italics are Creve- 

^The North American Review, LXI (October, 1835), 4l4. 


1764, John Bartram wrote to his English friend, Peter Collin- 
son: " I had always since ten years old a great inclination to 
plants, and knew all that I once observed by sight . . . " ^ His 
son William testified that his father " had a very early inclina- 
tion to the study of physic and surgery. He even acquired so 
much knowledge in the practice of the latter science, as to be 
useful ; and, in many instances, he gave great relief to his poor 
neighbors. ... It is extremely probable that as most of his 
medicines were derived from the vegetable kingdom, this cir- 
cumstance might point out to him the necessity of, and excite a 
desire for, the study of botany." " This reads like a much more 
plausible account of John Bartram's turning to natural science. 
But there is more than mere plausibility to point to John Bar- 
tram's interest in medicine. His letters to Peter Collinson are 
full of references to fevers and epidemics in the neighborhood. 
A selection from these letters was published by Professor Ben- 
jamin S. Barton in his Philadelphia Medical and Physical 
fournal^^ under the title " Notices of the Epidemics of Penn- 
sylvania and New Jersey, in the years 1746, 1747, 1748, and 
1749." That he even attained considerable eminence in medicine 
is indicated by his being listed in Dr. Haller's Bibliotheca 
Botanica as " Johanes Bartram, Medicus Americanus." ^^ 

The scientific accomplishments and influence of John Bartram 
have been treated by Professors Youmans ^^ and Harshberger,^* 
by Dr. R. Hingston Fox," and in a recent article by Dr. William 
Shainline Middleton.^® Here only a few of his many and various 
labors may be cited. In 1728 he founded on the west bank of 
the Schuylkill River the Bartram Botanical Garden. Through 

® Darlington, Memorials, p. 263. 

^^ " Some Account of the Late John Bartram, of Pennsylvania." By William 
Bartram. Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal, Vol. I, Part I, Section 11, 
pp. 115-124. 

'"Vol. I, Part I (1804). 

"Tom. II, p. 323. See Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal, I, 117. 

" W. J. Youmans, Pioneers of Science in America. New York, 1896. 

"John W. Harshberger, The Botanists of Philadelphia and Their Work. 
Philadelphia, 1899. 

^^ Dr. John Fothergill and his Friends. London, 1919. 

""John Bartram, Botanist." The Scientific Monthly, XXI (1925), 191-216. 


the interest of James Logan and Joseph Breintnall, the latter 
a member of Franklin's " Junto," the aid of the English botanist 
and Quaker, Peter Collinson, was enlisted and an exchange of 
plants began between them. Dr. Middleton states that " Bar- 
tram was responsible for the introduction into England of the 
bush honeysuckle, fiery lilies, mountain laurel, dog-tooth violet, 
wild asters, gentian, hemlock, red and white cedar and sugar 
maple." His English friends, on the other hand, sent him, 
" lilacs, tulips, narcissus, roses, lilies, crocuses, gladioli, iris, 
snapdragons, cyclamens, poppies, and carnations, in addition to 
many species of fruit and shade trees." ^^ He traveled exten- 
sively through the colonies and in 1751 published his Observa- 
tions on the Inhabitants, Climate, Soil, Rivers, Productions, 
Animals, and other matters worthy of notice, made by Mr. John 
Bartram in his travels from Pennsylvania to Onondago, Oswego, 
and Lake Ontario, in Canada}^ In the same year he added a 
preface, notes, and an appendix to Dr. Thomas Short's Medi- 
cina Britannica.^^ In 1765 he was appointed " Botanist to the 
King " of England, and a year later he published his Description 
of East Florida, with a journal kept by John Bartram of Phila- 
delphia, Botanist to His Majesty for the Floridas upon a journey 
from St. Augustine up the River St. John's, as far as the Lakes.^° 
His name in science is memorialized by two types of Bartramia, 
one — named by Gronovius — " a tropical plant with burr-like 
fruits, section of the genus triumfetta (tiliaceau) ; " the other — 
named by Hedwig — " a genus of acro-carpous mosses." ^^ 

It is, however, not with John Bartram' s scientific accomplish- 
ments that we are concerned, but with his personality and his 
probable influence on his son William. The attainments of the 
elder Bartram threw him in contact with people who, directly 

^' Ibid., p. 199. 

^* Printed by J. Whiston and B. White, Fleet Street, London. " To which is 
annex'd a Curious Account of the Cataracts at Niagara, by Mr. Peter Kalm." 
(See Sabin, Diet, of Books Relating to America.^ 

^" Published by B. Franklin and D. Hall. Philadelphia. 

^^ London. " The third edition, much . enlarged and improved. 1769 " 
(Duyckinck, Cyclopaedia, oj American Literature, I, 234). 

^' R. Kingston Fox, op. cit. 


and indirectly, colored William's childhood. Bartram's garden, 
before and during the tumultuous days of the Revolution, as 
well as in the days that followed, was a place visited by many 
intellectual and otherwise notable persons: Crevecoeur, Peter 
Kalm, Andre Michaux, Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, Jef- 
ferson, James Logan, Joseph Breintnall, Benjamin Rush, and 
Governor Golden of New York. In 1794, Alexander Wilson 
came to Philadelphia, made the acquaintance of William Bar- 
tram and spent many days in the garden, which he called Bar- 
tram's " little Paradise." '^ There can be no question but that 
the garden helped enormously to form William Bartram's life 
and character. Its very existence in his childhood meant much 
to his future development. His father was born on a farm and 
began life as a farmer; he was born in a botanical garden and 
started life as a horticulturist. The extensive correspondence of 
John Bartram with such persons as Linnaeus, Gronovius, Cates- 
by, Sir Hans Sloane, Dr. Fothergill, Collinson, Queen Ulrica, 
William Byrd, Isham Randolph, Dr. Alexander Garden, John 
Ellis, George Edwards, Philip Miller, Dr. John Hope, and Pro- 
fessor DiUenius, could not but in some way prove an influence 
on the career and personality of his son. It was certainly advan- 
tageous to have a father of whom it was " believed, that there 
have been but two or three native Americans whose correspond- 
ence with the learned men of Europe was so extensive as that of 
Mr. Bartram. . . . He likewise lived in habits of intimacy and 
friendship, or corresponded, with most of the distinguished 
literary characters of that time in North- America." ^^ 

William was fourteen years old when his father took him on 
an exploration journey to the Catskills. When he was fifteen 
his father sent to Collinson some of William's drawings of 
natural objects. A year later Bartram informed Collinson of 
his intentions to " set Billy to draw all our turtles with remarks, 
as he has time, which is only on Seventh days in the afternoon, 
and First-day morning; for he is constantly kept to school or 
learn Latin and French." William was then attending the old 

^^ Oberholtzer, The Literary History of Philadelphia, p. 140. 

** Editorial (Benjamin S. Barton) in Phila. Med. & Phys. Journal, I, I19. 


college in Philadelphia.^* Very little else is known about Wil- 
liam's education. Duyckinck states that William's tutor was 
Charles Thomson, "" subsequently the honest and spirited repub- 
lican of the old Continental Congress." ^^ In fact, Thomson 
was secretary of the Continental Congress until 1789, and was 
thought of by John Adams as " the Sam Adams of Philadelphia, 
the life of the cause of liberty." Besides his contribution to the 
cause of American liberty, his work among the Indians endeared 
him to all lovers of fair-dealing. In 1756 he was adopted into 
the Delaware tribe, among whom he was known as the " Truth 
Teller," '^ just as later his pupil would be adopted by Indian 
tribes who would lovingly call him " The Flower-Gatherer." 
The mention of " Billy's " drawing is important. No one can 
read William Bartram's Travels without feeling that the man 
had the eye and the soul of a painter. His love and perception 
of line and color must be traced back to his early proficiency in 
drawing. In spite of this talent, however, John Bartram was 
seriously perplexed about his son's career. " My son William," 
he wrote to CoUinson, " is just turned sixteen. It is now time to 
propose some way for him to get his living by. I don't want him 
to be what is commonly called a gentleman. ... I am afraid 
that botany and drawing will not afford him one. ... I have 
designed several years to put him to a doctor, to learn physic 
and surgery; but that will take him from his drawing, which he 
takes a particular delight in." ^^ 

This reluctance to interfere with his son's natural inclinations 
is characteristic of John Bartram. He wanted him to learn some 
profession that would yield him a living, but not at the neglect 
of a talent which he early recognized as genuine. There is no 
indication that he himself was able to draw and paint; perhaps 
because of this he respected his son's ability all the more. His 
encouragement was helpful. Nor can there be any doubt that 
the father's own general skill with his hands influenced the son's 

"^ " Sketch of John and WilHam Bartram." Popular Science Monthly, XL 
(April, 1892), 833. 
" Op. cit., p. 234. 

^^Encyclopaedia Americana, XXVI, 581. 
^'Memorials, 199. 


mechanical ingenuity. The house at Kingsessing in which Wil- 
liam was born, and which has been described in numerous 
articles, had been built by John Bartram himself. In a letter to 
Jared Eliot the pride of a skilled craftsman is unmistakable. " I 
had been used to split rocks to make steps, door-sills, window- 
frames, pig and water troughs. I have split rocks seventeen feet 
long, and built four houses of hewn stone, split out of the rocks 
with my own hands. . . . " ^^ An example of his son's mechan- 
ical skill is a fine, well-made table preserved in the Bartram 
Memorial Library at the University of Pennsylvania. 

In his perplexity over William's career, John Bartram turned 
to Benjamin Franklin for advice. The latter offered to teach the 
boy the printing trade, but his offer was not accepted. Franklin 
then suggested that William be taught engraving, and that sug- 
gestion, too, was declined. Instead William, at eighteen, was 
placed with a Mr. Child, a Philadelphia merchant. There are 
no records to indicate just what he felt and thought of himself 
as a merchant. Four years later, in 1761, he set up as a trader at 
Cape Fear, North Carolina, where his uncle William had settled 
when a young man. He was not successful; evidently he did not 
follow his father's practical advice to pay " at convenient times 
... a complaisant visit to the Governour and most of the chief 
persons, letting them know that thee art come into their country 
in the way of trade . . . " ^^ It is improbable that young Bar- 
tram, whose " disposition was that of a rover rather than that 
of a steady worker . . . gentle, modest and contemplative, 
. . ." ^° would follow such advice and prove a successful trader. 
Hence when his father, in 1766, now almost sixty-six years old, 
invited his son to accompany him on a botanical expedition in 
the South, William did not hesitate to close his business and 
turn explorer. On this trip he helped his father explore the 
sources of the river San Juan (St. Johns) , ascending the river 

"^ " Bartram's Garden." By M. L. Dock. Garden and Forest, March 25, 1896, 
p. 122. 

" Letter '" To William Bartram, Marchant in Cape Fear, North Carolina." 
Bartram Papers, Vol. I. In the manuscript Division of the Pennsylvania His- 
torical Society, Philadelphia. 

*"Fox, op. at., p. 186. 


nearly four hundred miles by one bank and descending by the 
other. The report of these explorations, with observations on 
the lay of the land, quality of the soil, and the vegetable and 
animal productions, was sent to the Board of Trade and Planta- 
tions in England, where it was ordered published " for the 
benefit of the new colony." 

This exploration trip was fruitful to William Bartram. From 
his earliest childhood he had seen plants in his father's garden, 
but many of them were transplanted, cultivated by the skill and 
knowledge of his father. Now at last he saw them, and others 
he had never seen, growing in the woods, naturally, without the 
aid and direction of man. He had had an earlier opportunity to 
observe plants in their native habitat when his father had taken 
him along, in 1753, on a trip to the Catskills,^^ but then he had 
been but fourteen years old and, besides, the plants of the Cats- 
kill region are not so different from those of Pennsylvania as 
are those of the South. The beauty of Florida fascinated him; 
he refused to return home, and persuaded his father to help him 
establish himself as an indigo-planter on the St. Johns River. 
This business venture, too, proved unfortunate. A graphic pic- 
ture of his pathetic condition at this time is contained in a letter 
to John Bartram, written on August 9, 1766, by Henry Laurens, 
who later became famous as President of the Continental Con- 
gress and as one of the signers of the peace treaty with England. 
Laurens had visited Bartram at his plantation and he thus sum- 
marized his impressions: 

... In fact, according to my ideas, no colouring can do justice to the 
forlorn state of poor Billy Bartram. A gentle, mild young man, no wife, 
no friend, no companion, no neighbor, no human inhabitant within nine 
miles of him, the nearest by water, no boat to come at them, and those 
only common soldiers seated upon a beggarly spot of land, scant of 
the bare necessities, and totally void of all the comforts of life, except 
an inimitable degree of patience, for which he deserves a thousand 
times better fate ; an unpleasant, unhealthy situation, six negroes, rather 
plagues than aids to him, of whom one is so insolent as to threaten his 
life, one a useless expense, one a helpless child in arms, . . .^- 

*^ D/cL of Am. Biog., II, 27, gives the year of this trip as 1755; but the head- 
ing of a paper in The Bartram Papers, Vol. I, in John Bartram's handwriting, 
reads: " A Journey to the Catskill Mountains with billy 1753." 

"Memorials, 440-441. 


Within a year William returned to Kingsessing, where he went 
to work on a farm in the vicinity of his father's home. 

In 1772 Dr. John Fothergill, a London physician and Quaker, 
agreed to finance a journey of botanical exploration into East 
and West Florida for William to undertake. Dr. Fothergill was 
keenly interested in natural science and, through Peter CoUin- 
son, had followed the work of both Bartrams. He had received 
many American specimens and had admired William's draw- 
ings. He now agreed to pay fifty pounds a year for two years 
and ail other minor expenses of packing and shipping botanical 
specimens ; in return William Bartram was to send him curious 
plants and seeds and " to draw birds, reptiles, insects and plants 
on the spot at a further payment." ^^ Accordingly, in April, 
1773, Bartram embarked on his Southern travels, which lasted 
five and not two years, and which resulted not only in "the 
discovery of rare and useful productions of nature, chiefly in the 
vegetable kingdom,"^* but also in a book which was the first 
genuine and artistic interpretation of the American landscape 
and which was to fascinate Romantic poets and nature-lovers in 
many parts of the world. That he enjoyed his labors and at last 
found himself in his native element in the woods, on the rivers 
and lakes, and in the camps and Indian villages of the unknown 
regions he explored, his book amply discloses. It is even more 
than " the artless account of an unhurried wanderer through 
field and forest, who made friends with every flower and tree, 
every bird and insect, and whose heart was one with nature 
herself." ^^ It has a tone of exultation, perhaps due to his feel- 
ing of acquired independence: for while formerly he had merely 
accompanied his father on exploration trips, now he was alone, 
a full-fledged naturalist and explorer. To a large extent, also, 
the tone reveals " the enthusiasm of a man still young, with an 
eye that nothing escapes, not without poetical imagination or 
philosophical vision." ^^ 

Upon his return home, in January, 1778, William found that 

^='Fox, op. cit., 186. 

"^Travels, 1. 

^^ Fox, op. cit., 187. 

^° Lane Cooper, Cambridge History of Am. Lit., I, 196. 


his father had died some three months before, on September 22, 
1777. During his five years of wandering he had written home 
but seldom, " even when there was a chance of sending letters, 
and his friends " had given " him up for lost among the hostile 
Indians." " The garden was inherited by William's brother 
John, also a botanist, who took William into partnership. Wil- 
liam settled down and led a simple, quiet life, occupied with his 
scientific observations, his diary, and his correspondence. In 
1782 he was offered the chair in botany at the University of 
Pennsylvania, but he declined on account of ill-health. In 1786 
he became a member of the American Philosophical Society. 
The Proceedings of that organization report, under date of July 
20, 1792, the receipt of a copy of " William Bartram's Travels 
in Georgia." ^® Under date of November 18, 1802, the Proceed- 
ings record: " First attempt to describe our native vines, by 
William Bartram." ^^ In 1806 he was invited to accompany 
Alexander Wilson on an ornithological expedition down the 
Ohio, " from Pittsburg to the Mississippi, thence to New 
Orleans," which again he had to decline on account of ill-health.*° 
Wilson, writing to President Jefferson, on February 6, 1806, 
expressed his disappointment that Bartram could not accompany 
him and thus forced him to abandon his plan. " But my vener- 
able friend, Mr. Bartram," he states, " taking into more serious 
consideration his advanced age, being near seventy, and the 
weakness of his eyesight; and apprehensive of his inability to 
encounter the fatigues and privations unavoidable in so extensive 
a tour; having, to my extreme regret and the real loss of science, 
been induced to decline the journey; I . . . reluctantly aban- 
doned the enterprise . . . " ^^ 

There were other alluring offers. The greatest, which came a 
few years before Alexander Wilson's proposal, seems, for some 
reason, to have escaped Bartram's previous biographers. It is the 

^' Fox, op. cit., p. 187. 

** Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 22", 206. 
^"Ibid., 22% 328. 

*° William B. O. Peabody, Life of Alexander Wilson. The Library of Ameri- 
can Biography, conducted by Jared Sparks. New York, 1848. II, 104. 
" Ibid., p. 105. 


request made by Thomas Jefferson, as President of the United 
States, for his services on an exploration undertaking which has 
become famous in American history as the Lewis and Clark 
Expedition. On November 30, 1803, Dr. Benjamin S. Barton 
wrote to Bartram inquiring if he would undertake 

a voyage or journey up the Red River, one of the western branches of 
the Mississippi. A new expedition for explaining the waters of that 
river, particularly with a view to its Botanical and Zoological produc- 
tions, is about to take place under the patronage of the President of 
the United States. Your name has been particularly mentioned by the 
President. . . . Send your answer by my boy. 

Dr. Barton then proceeded to enumerate the advantages. Com- 
pensation would be liberal ; the journey would not be fatiguing. 
The President's agent, Mr. Freeman, who had been authorized 
to find a suitable man for the expedition, was pressing for an 
answer and Dr. Barton urged Bartram to accept. 

Come on. You are not too old. You have sufficient youth, health and 
strength for this journey. You will render great and new services to 
Natural Science. Remember that your venerable father continued to 
make botanical tours long after he had reached your age.*- 

Further confirmation of this offer, which Bartram was obliged 
to refuse, is found in a letter to Jefferson, dated at Kingsess, 
February 6, 1806, in which Bartram recommended Alexander 
Wilson for exploration in Louisiana and in which he thanked 
Jefferson for having thought of him (Bartram) for the voyage 
up the Red River.^' 

Bartram, however, must have continued to be active in his 
garden and in his studies, at least in a quiet way, for in 1812 
further recognition came to him in his election to membership 
in the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.** On July 22, 
1823, he died from a ruptured blood-vessel of the lungs; "he 
had just finished writing the description of a plant, and was 
stepping out for a stroll in his beloved Garden." *^ 

*° Bartram Papers, I. 

*' Manuscript Division, The Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. 

** Notice of election in Bartram Papers, I. 

*^ Dictionary of American Biography, II, 29. 


The scientific contribution of William Bartram is of interest to 
natural scientists. Generally classed as a " botanist and ornitho- 
logist," *^ he had a multiplicity of scientific interests. His assist- 
ance to Alexander Wilson deserves special mention. Wilson, poor 
and friendless, employed for a time as a school teacher at King- 
sessing, not far from the Bartram Garden, was befriended by 
Bartram and encouraged in his ornithological studies, with the 
result that he "' was persuaded by William Bartram to undertake 
that splendid production, ' The American Ornithology.' " *' 
What Bartram' s interest in Wilson meant to the school teacher 
struggling to become an ornithologist is effectively indicated in 
a letter Wilson wrote to Bartram in 1805: "' Accept my best 
wishes for your happiness ; wishes as sincere as ever one human 
being breathed for the happiness of another. To your advice 
and encouragement I am indebted for these few specimens, and 
for all that will follow. They may yet tell posterity that I was 
honored with your friendship, and that to your inspiration they 
owe their existence." ** 

It is with the literary contribution of William Bartram, par- 
ticularly in relation to his own age and to his influence on sub- 
sequent writers, that this study is primarily concerned. If it is 
true that Bartram represents " the first combination of accurate 
observation, aesthetic appreciation and philosophical interest in 
the realm of natural history literature " in America,*^ it is neces- 
sary to consider the various forces that produced this combina- 
tion. The influence of his father has already been noted; it 
shaped his life and developed his character. But a larger influ- 
ence that shaped the ideas of both father and son, and which 
is visible behind the combination of elements which Mr. Hicks 
finds in Bartram, must not be overlooked. It is the entire 
eighteenth-century movement of sentiment de la nature. William 
Bartram was, perhaps, too simple and humble an individual to 

" Encyclopaedia Americana. 

" Harshberger, op. cit., p. 87. 

" Peabody, op. cit., p. 100. 

** Philip Marshall Hicks, The Development of the Natural History Essay in 
American Literature. Doctoral Dissertation, The University of Pennsylvania, 
1924, p. 23. 


be consciously aware of himself as part of a world-wide intel- 
lectual movement, but there can be no doubt that his father was 
an active agent in that movement. A member of the American 
Philosophical Society, an intimate friend of Benjamin Franklin, 
who addressed him in his letters " My ever dear friend " and 
" My good and dear friend," ^^ John Bartram surely was 
acquainted with the current thought then beginning to stir in 
America. There is a Rousseauistic defiance in his insistence on 
independence of thought and action. He was religious, but his 
views were liberal. " Indeed," he wrote to Peter Collinson, " I 
have little respect to apologies and disputes about the ceremo- 
nial parts of religion, which often introduce animosities, con- 
fusion, and disorder in the mind — and sometimes body too ; but, 
dear Peter, let us worship the one Almighty Power, . . . doing 
to others as we would have them do to us, if we were in their 
circumstances. Living in love and innocency, we may die in 
hope." '^ Above his study window he inscribed: 

It is God Alone, Almyty Lord, 
The Holy One by Me Ador'd 
John Bartram 1770 

and over the door of his greenhouse: 

Slave to no sect, who takes no private road, 
But looks through Nature, up to Nature's God.^* 

These deistic sentiments led to his being, in 1758, read out of 
the Monthly Meeting at Darby. John Bartram, farmer or 
naturalist, was a man of/ keen intellectual interests, who "' seldom 
sat at his meals without his book; often his victuals in one hand 
and his book in the other." " 

Such a father could not fail to transmit to his son part of his 
own enthusiasm for ideas. William's work, original as it is, 

^^ William Cabell Bruce, Benjamin Franklin Self-Revealed. New York, 1917 
I, 334. 

"Letter dated July 6, 1742. Memorials, p. 159. Also quoted by Middleton, 
"John Bartram, Botanist." The Scientific Monthly, XXI, 214. 

"Middleton, op. cit., 214. 

^^ American Philosophical Society Pamphlet v. 1166. 


echoes the philosophical temper of the century in which both 
father and son lived. Furthermore, if John Bartram " seemed to 
have been designed for the study and contemplation of Nature, 
and the culture of philosophy," ^* his son, brought up in a home 
where genuine wonder about nature, man, and God was very 
keen, was designed for nothing else. John Bartram was " at 
least twenty folio pages, large paper, well filled, on the subjects 
of botany, fossils, husbandry, and the first creation; " ®^ so was 
William Bartram, who ever acknowledged the benefits he had 
derived from his father. In the very first paragraph of the 
Introduction to his Travels he tells us that " From the advan- 
tages the journalist enjoyed under his father John Bartram, 
botanist to the king of Great-Britain, and fellow of the Royal 
Society, it is hoped that his labors will present new as well as 
useful information to the botanist and zoologist." He refers to 
his journey of " some years ago with my father, John Bartram," 
during the course of which he had observed " many subjects of 
natural history . . . that were interesting, and not taken notice 
of by any traveller." '''"' He sails by Mount Hope, which, he 
informs us, was " so named by my father John Bartram." " He 
recalls his youth when he attended his father " on a journey to 
the Catskill Mountains, in the government of New York." ^^ 
Towards the end of his book he prints a spontaneous tribute to 
his father, " the American botanist and traveller, who contrib- 
uted as much if not more than any other man towards enriching 
the North American botanical nomenclature, as well as its 
natural history." ^^ 

John Bartram must again be mentioned in connection with 
his son's humanitarian views — those views that came to be of 
such momentous importance in the latter years of the eighteenth 
century. On the question of slavery both reflected actively the 
Quaker creed. John Bartram had freed his slaves, made them 

°* " Some Account of the late Mr. John Bartram," by William Bartram. Phila. 
Med. & Phys. Journal, I, 116. 

""* Benjamin Franklin to Jared Eliot, Sept. 1, 1775. Quoted by Duyckinck, op. 
cit., I, 234. 

'"'Travels, 55. ^^bid., 270. 

^' Ibid., 98. " Ibid., Ali. 


eat at his table, paid them a fair wage, and taught them to read 
and write. One of his negro freedmen, Harvey, acted as his 
steward. "Thee perhaps," Crevecoeur quotes him as saying to 
his Russian visitor, "hast been surprised to see them at my table, 
but by elevating them to the rank of freemen, they necessarily 
acquire that emulation without which we ourselves should fall 
into debasement and profligate ways." ^° William Bartram see- 
ing some Indian slaves among the Creeks delivers himself of a 
similar sentiment: " In observing these slaves, we behold at 
once, in their countenance and manners, the striking contrast 
betwixt a state of freedom and slavery. They are the tamest, the 
most abject creatures that we can possibly imagine: mild, peace- 
able, and tractable, they seem to have no will power to act but 
as directed by their masters." ®^ 

On the negro slavery question specifically, William Bartram 
has left an interesting document. Among his papers, on the 
back of a " Catalogue of American Trees, Shrubs and Herba- 
cious Plants growing in John Bartram's Garden " are scribbled 
some notes for a speech or a petition. There is nothing in the 
document to indicate to what part of his life it belongs ; on the 
basis of handwriting and punctuation it presumably belongs to 
his later years — but this is a mere conjecture. The paper reads, 
with some omissions: 

I am about to speak to you on a subject . . . the most indispensibly 
deserving your serious consideration perhaps that ever hath or ever will 
come before you. 

I am fully sensible of my inability to speak to nations on a subject 
of reformation of morals, being fully persuaded that it requires more 
than human wisdom and oratorical talents. . . . Yet ... I find it a 
duty incumbent on me to declare my sentiments, and render my little 
talent for the good and safety of my fellow creature & citizens of the 

Men! do you believe that the Universe . . . was made by a supreme 
Creator. ... Our divine Oracles teach us to do Justice and mercy 
and fear God. . . . Who was it said to man do thou the same to others 
thou wouldst them do unto these. 

^"Letter XI, p. 193- 

*^ Travels, 186. For William Bartram's attitude towards the Indian question 
and Indians generally, see Chapter III. 


Now Brethren, since it is plain from the above principles . . . that 
it is our moral conduct towards each other which constitutes true 
Religion. ... It seriously behoves us to . . . consider our past & present 
conduct whether it accords . . . with the commands of the Universal 
lord and Sovereign of this World. . . . 

Ye Chiefs of this Nation whome the people have chosen and 
appointed as Watchmen ... for their safety. . . . Recollect the funda- 
mental principle, the first articles of the constitution of the United States, 
viz. We hold it as a sacred truth, that all men are born free, and have 
an equal unalienable right to Life, Liberty and property, etc. 

. . . Do we not continue in a woefull predicament by suffering the 
Black People who are fellow citizens of our Nation to be held in per- 
petuall Bondage and slavery, being drag'd in chains from Africa their 
native Land many most of them for no crime whatever & none for any 
crime or harm that they have rendered us : incredible that an enlightened 
People as we would feign be should continue to afflict them. . . . 

Ye chiefs in the National Council, do you not confess while ye sit 
in the Assembly that those poor illtreated People are fellow citizens. 
Consider God is no respector of Persons & that the Black White Red & 
Yellow People are equally dear to him and under his protection and 
favour & that sooner or later ye must render full retribution. . . . 

Americans ye do not know your own interests by keeping these 
inocent people in bondage against their will. . . .^^ 

The paper ends with a prophecy of the day when these afflicted 
people will have full satisfaction for their oppressions. 

The sentiments expressed are representative of the views held 
generally by Quakers, including his father, on the subject of 
Negro slavery. Anthony Benezet, for example, another Phila- 
delphia Friend, published in 1766 A Caution and Warning to 
Great Britain and her Colonies: 

At a time when the general rights and liberties of mankind, and the 
preservation of those valuable privileges transmitted to us from our 
ancestors, are become . . . the subjects of universal consideration, can it 
be an inquiry indefferent to any, how many of those who distinguish 
themselves as the advocates of liberty, remain insensible ... to the 
treatment of thousands and tens of thousands of our fellow men who 
from motives of avarice, and the inexorable decree of tyrant custom, 
are at this very time kept in the most deplorable state of slavery, in 
many parts of the British Dominions.^ . . . 

. . . They are put on board the vessels, the men being shackled with 

Bartram Papers, I. 


irons two and two together. Reader, bring the matter home, and con- 
sider whether any situation in hfe can be more completely miserable 
than that of those distressed captives. When we reflect that each 
individual of this number had some tender attachment which was broken 
by this cruel separation; some parent or wife; . . . some infant or 
aged parent. . . . 

. . . Do we indeed believe the truth declared in the Gospel .'' Are we 
persuaded that the threatenings, as well as the promises therein con- 
tained, will have their accomplishment.? If indeed we do, must we not 
tremble to think what a load of guilt lies upon our nation generally and 
individually, so far as we in any degree abet or countenance this 
aggraved iniquity.? "^ 

To Benezet's words should be added those of John Bartram, as 
reported by Crevecoeur: 

Though our erroneous prejudices and opinions, once induced us to look 
upon them [Negroes] as fit only for slavery ... yet of late, in con- 
sequence of the remonstrances of several Friends, and of the good books 
they have published on that subject, our society treats them very dif- 
ferently. With us they are now free. . . . Our society treats them now 
as the companions of our labours; and by this management, as well as 
by means of the education we have given them, they are in general 
become a new set of beings.^* 

But Crevecoeur' s report of John Bartram' s words becomes even 
more significant in the French version of his Letters, which dif- 
fers materially from the English version. Here John Bartram 
actually refers to Benezet's services to the cause of the liberation 
of the Negro among the Quakers. Among other things not in 
the English edition, Bartram is reported as saying to his visitor: 

II y a plus de quarante ans que quelques membres de notre societe 
commencerent a les emanciper. Antoine Benezet publia les livres a ce 
sujet, & parcourut tout le Continent, en exhortant a cette action genereuse 
les amis; & depuis cette epoques, nous avons trouve qu'on bon exemple, 
des avis doux & des principes de religion, pouvoient sels les conduire 
a la subordination, la sobriete & a I'amour du travail. ^^ 

Among the influences upon William Bartram that of the 

*'^ A Library of American Literature. Stedman and Hutchinson. II, 490-492. 

®* Letters, pp. 192-193. Crevecoeur's visit at Bartram's took place in 1769: 
The French editor of the Letters dates the supposed Russian's letter: '" Phila- 
delphie, 12 Octobre, 1769." 

*^ Lettres d'un Cultivateur Americain. A. Maestricht, chez J. E. Dufour & 
Phil. Roux. Imprimeurs-Libraires associes. 1785. Tome Premier, 170. 


books he read must come next in importance only to the influ- 
ence of his father and of Quaker ideals generally. It is not an 
easy matter to trace the books he read. The books which had 
belonged to the Bartram family and are now in the Bartram 
Memorial Library at the University of Pennsylvania and in the 
library of the Pennsylvania Historical Society °^ do not all show 
by which member of the family they were acquired. It is plau- 
sible to assume that books acquired by John Bartram were read 
by William Bartram. The father was a voracious reader and 
his letters to Collinson contain numerous requests for books, so 
numerous, in fact, that Collinson felt impelled at one time to 
hint to him that Solomon had not obtained all his wisdom from 
books, to which hint John Bartram replied: " I take thy advice 
about books very kindly, — although I love reading dearly: and 
I believe, if Solomon had loved women less, and books more, he 
would have been a wiser and a happier man than he was." ®^ 

Yet Collinson sent his American correspondent many books 
and he interested other European scientists in John Bartram' s 
needs. He sent him scientific books such as Sir Hans Sloane's 
Natural History of Jamaica, and books "" to replenish thy inner 
man," ^^ such as Robert Barclay's Apology for the Quakers. 
Mark Catesby sent him a copy of his History of American Birds; 
Dillenius his History of Mosses; Linnaeus his Systema Naturae 
and Characteres PI ant arum; Gronovius his Index Lapideae and 
his Flora Virginica. Besides these volumes, some of the books 
in the Pennsylvania Historical Society collection bear John Bar- 
tram's signature, among them a number of books on surgery — 
which it is doubtful that William Bartram ever read ^^ — and a 
volume of the Spectator papers.^" 

""The Bartram Library." The Philadelphia Public Ledger, September 11, 
1891. About one hundred volumes were donated to the Penn. Hist. Society by 
William Middleton Bartram, a great-great-grandson of John Bartram. 

'^''Memorials, p. 119. Letter to Collinson dated May, 1738. 

^^ Memorials, p. 153. Letter from Collinson dated March 3, 1741-2. 

'° " He longs to be with thee; but it is more for the sake of Botany than 
Physic or Surgery, neither of which he seems to have any delight in. I have 
several books of both; but can't persuade him to read a page in either. Botany 
and drawing are his delight. . . ." Letter of John Bartram to Dr. Alexander 
Garden, Charleston, S. C, March l4, 1756. Memorials, p. 392. 

'" Vol. VIL Glasgow, 1767. 



Volumes that can be ascribed definitely to William Bartram's 
possession, because of his signature upon them, are several 
Latin books. Buff on' s Natural History,'''^ an Essay by Benjamin 
Rush (1798), Phytologia or the Philosophy of Agriculture and 
Gardening by Erasmus Darwin (1800), Philosophy of Natural 
History by William Smellie, and a pamphlet on education in 
Pennsylvania (1759) by Benjamin Franklin. Other works be- 
longing to the Bartram family, acquired for the most part after 
the death of John Bartram, are Thomas Jefferson's Notes on 
Virginia (Paris, 1783), John Woolman's Journal (1775), Eras- 
mus Darwin's Botanic Garden (first American ed., 1798) , Ram- 
say's Travel's of Cyrus (1796. In French and English), Hume's 
History of England (1763), Aristotle's Works (1813), Pope's 
Moral Essays (1751), Sir John Hawkin's Life of Samuel John- 
son (1787), and William Hayley's Life of William Coivper 

That William Bartram had read these books and many others 
is quite clear. Echoes of the thoughts and diction of their 
authors are to be found everywhere in his works. It is impos- 
sible, of course, to trace a writer's unconscious absorption of 
other authors, but it is safe to assume that wherever a definite 
reference is made to a particular author or work an influence 
is indicated. His scientific indebtedness to such men as George 
Edwards and Mark Catesby is obvious; '^^ and so is the indebt- 
edness he shared with all botanists of his time to the " great 
Naturalist and Phylosopher Linnaeus." ^^ Buff on' s ideas on 

^^ Gift from Benjamin S. Barton (His letter to William Bartram, dated Sep- 
tember 20, 1791, in Bartram Papers, I). 

''^ " There is a good . . . description of him (the land tortoise) in G. 
Edwards's Gl. Nat. Hist. II, 205" {Travels, 281). '"Catesby has said 
very little on this curious subject [bird migration] ; but Edwards more, . . ." 
{Ibid., 284). "... a tribe of birds ... to which Edwards has given the name 
of manakin " {Ibid., 300). "Catesby, in his history of Carolina, speaking of 
the cat-bird . . . says, . . ." {Ibid., 299). "... a species of Robinia new to me, 
though perhaps the same as figured and slightly described by Catesby in his 
Nat. Hist. Carol." {Ibid., 335). 

''^ William Bartram's lengthy dissertation on God, Man, Nature, etc., in the 
Bartram Papers, I. There is nothing to indicate whether the manuscript was 
intended as a letter to someone or whether it is the rough draft of a still longer 


nature impressed him. He believed that Buffon, with whom he 
was not in agreement, had nevertheless " sufficiently established 
a truly wonderful Instinct in animals . . ." '^^ His own account 
of the Creek Confederacy agrees, he informs us, with that of 
" monsieur Duprat." The story of these Indians " concerning 
their country and people, . . . the progress of their migration, 
&c. is very similar to that celebrated historian's account of the 
Natches." '"^ 

Of general cultural influences upon him, the classics and 
the writers of the eighteenth century deserve special mention. 
Classical references and analogies come to him spontaneously, 
indicating a complete assimilation. Speaking of the Snake Bird 
he remarks: " I doubt not but if this bird had been an inhabi- 
tant of the Tiber in Ovid's days, it would have furnished him a 
subject for some beautiful and entertaining metamorphoses." ^^ 
The '" enchanting Vale of Keowe " reminds him of the " Fields 
of Pharsalia or the Vale of Tempe." " Ruminating upon the 
sin of dissimulation he finds some extenuation for the " dis- 
simulation practiced by the wife of Ulysses." He " allows," 
however, that "there was more Heroism in the virture of the 
Wife Lucretia. . . " ^^ Further ruminating on the typically 
eighteenth-century problem of Reason as a check on our Pas- 
sions, he finds that " the Great and most Illustrious Characters 
on Record demonstrate that they seldom were attended or 
influenced by this divine Monitor, as Nimrod, Alexander, Julius 
Caesar, Hanibal, & even Cato," ^® and he comes to the con- 
clusion that all human passions must " in some degree ... be 
regulated by Reason " and that we " must observe operations 
of these in man," for, he quotes, " ' The proper study of Man- 
kind is man.' " ^° His knowledge of Pope is attested to by 
another quotation from that poet's work. In a letter to a 
nephew he recalls that " Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on 
Alps arise." ®^ 

philosophical discourse ; it contains numerous interlineations and shows the marks 
of many erasures. ''''Ibid., 354. 

''* Ibid. See chapter II. ^' Lengthy dissertation in Bartram Papers, I. 

" Travels, 465. " Ibid. 

'"^ Ibid. 133. ^'' Ibid. From Pope's Essay on Man, II, 2. 

*^ Essay on Criticism, II, 32. For the complete letter, see appendix. 


It is plain that William Bartram's cultural equipment was 
considerable, and was undoubtedly an important factor in his 
success as a continuator of his father's work in the natural 
sciences. A still greater factor, however, was Bartram's per- 
sonality, which must be taken into consideration in any attempt 
to account for Bartram's fame and influence on his time. Much 
as he followed in his father's footsteps there were subtle differ- 
ences between the two men. John Bartram was robust, positive, 
assertive; William Bartram was gentle, timid, sensitive. His 
father, a man of action, had never been so happy as when on 
horseback out in the woods exploring, or out in his fields work- 
ing.^^ There was more of the poet in William Bartram, who 
felt elated when " surveying the beautiful and wonderful pro- 
ductions which are scattered over the face of the earth." ^^ The 
element of beauty was necessary to his happiness. If his scien- 
tific curiosity was curbed at all it was by his aesthetic sensibility. 
" He was a man gentle of temperament and preferred to be 
drawn to a spot by the luscious scent of some white, night- 
blooming species, than by the nerve-racking cry of [the 
panther]." ^^ It was no accident that Dr. Fothergill sent him to 
explore the botanical resources of Florida. As a matter of fact 
Dr. Fothergill was not at all interested in Florida and its " great 
variety of plants, . . . many of them unknown." What he 
wished mainly was to introduce into England " the more hardy 
American plants, such as will bear our winters without much 
shelter." But Bartram was not interested in the " back parts 
of Canada " ^° and Dr. Fothergill was finally persuaded to assist 
the "young Quaker" to ride "through the savannas and the 
glorious forests of the Creeks and Cherokees with . . . sur- 
passing joy." ^® 

^^ Note Howard Pyle's fine description of a typical John Bartram departure: 
" The wife and the daughters wept, the sons shook their father's hand in silence, 
and the negro servants grinned at the fine show their master made as he rattled 
away on his old gray mare. He plunged immediately and boldly into the 
wilderness. ..." Harper's Magazine, LX, 329-330. 

*^ Quoted in S. Austin AUibone's Critical Dictionary of English Literature and 
British and American Authors, I, 137. Philadelphia, 1870. 

^"■The Craftsman, XXIV (May, 1913), 197. 

^^ Letter from Dr. Fothergill to John Bartram, October 22, Memorials, 334. 

^* " The Travels of William Bartram." The Saturday Review of Literature, 
April 21, 1928. 


In spite of their gentleness, neither the father nor the son 
was without critical judgment on men and manners and on the 
world of their day in general. John Bartram expressed his 
opinions more boldly and aggressively; William Bartram more 
guardedly, lest he hurt anybody. Writing to Collinson John 
Bartram confessed that " upon the topic of astrology, magic 
and mystic divinity," he was " apt to be a little troublesome, 
by inquiring into the foundation and reasonableness of these 
notions — which, thee knows, will not bear to be searched and 
examined into." ^' On the subject of the future of America 
Crevecoeur quotes him as saying: " Our country is, no doubt, 
the cradle of an extensive future population; the old world is 
growing weary of its inhabitants, they must come here to flee 
from the tyranny of the great. But doth not thee imagine, that 
the great will, in the course of years, come over here also; for 
it is the misfortune of all societies everywhere to hear of great 
men, great rulers, and of great tyrants." ®^ On occasion John 
Bartram could wax ironic. " Our domestic animals," he re- 
marked while discussing bird migration, " are . . . like their 
masters; every one contends for his own dunghill, and is for 
driving all off that come to encroach upon them." *^ 

William Bartram, too, could wax ironic, though more deli- 
cately. Replying to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal 
Society, who had offered him one shilling sterling for every 
new plant which he might discover in the South, he wrote: 
"' William Bartram, in answer to Joseph Banks's proposal says, 
that there are not over 500 species altogether in the provinces 
of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, West and East 
Florida, and Georgia, which at one shilling each, amounts only 
to £25 — supposing everything acceptable. It has taken me two 
years to search only part of the last two provinces, and find by 
experience it cannot be done with tolerable conveniency for less 
than £100 a year, therefore it cannot reasonably be expected that 
he can accept the offer." ^° He too ventured certain prophecies 

*' " Sketch of John and William Bartram." Popular Science Monthly, XL, 831. 
** Op. cit.. Letter XI, pp. 189-190. 
"Middleton, op. cit., p. 209- 

'" " Biographical Sketch of William Bartram." American Philosophical Society 
Pamphlets, v. 1166. 


about the future of America or parts of America. Thus he did 
not " hesitate to pronounce " his opinion that Augusta would 
'" very soon become the metropolis of Georgia," ^^ and that 
" the great and beautiful Alachua Savanna " would " at some 
future day be one of the most populous and delightful seats 
on earth." ^^ 

In all extant descriptions of William Bartram he is pictured 
as a kind, gentle Quaker, with his father's indefatigable curi- 
osity and zeal in the cause of natural science. In both the 
element of personal ambition was completely subordinated to 
their interest in science. They were looked upon by their con- 
temporaries and they looked upon themselves as pioneers 
laboring in a worthy cause. Early in his career, in 1745, John 
Bartram could write in regard to a shipment of plants he had 
sent to England and which was intercepted by the French or 
the Spanish: " If I could know that [the goods] fell into the 
hands of men of learning and curiosity I should be more easy. 
Though they are what is commonly called our enemies, yet, if 
they make proper use of what I have laboured for, let them 
enjoy it with the blessings of God." ^^ William, being more 
analytically-minded, sometimes felt it necessary to defend the 
study of natural science and his own preoccupation with it. In 
the midst of a discussion on the migration of birds, he reminds 
himself that "There may perhaps be some persons who con- 
sider this enquiry not to be productive of any real benefit to 
mankind, and pronounce such attention to natural history merely 
speculative, and only fit to amuse and entertain the idle virtuoso ; 
however the ancients thought otherwise, for with them, the 
knowledge of the passage of birds was the study of their priests 
and philosophers, and was considered a matter of real and 
indispensable use to the state. . . . " ®* 

Two descriptions of William Bartram by visitors to the Garden 
deserve reproduction here. One is by the Reverend Manasseh 
Cutler, a prominent New England botanist; the other is by 
William Dunlap, painter and playwright, who in the company 
of Charles Brockden Brown called on Bartram. The Reverend 

""■Travels, 317. ^"^ Memorials, p. 353. 

^"Ibid., 251. ^''Travels, 284-5. 


Cutler's visit took place in July, 1787, a year after Bartram 
had been elected a member of the American Philosophical 
Society. He came to make this visit, Cutler tells us, because 
when he inquired of his Philadelphia friends. Dr. Gerardus 
Clarkson and Dr. Benjamin Rush, " after Mr. Cox, the present 
Professor of Botany in the University" of Pennsylvania, both 
gentlemen hemmed and hawed and " Dr. Rush observed that 
Mr. Bartram had much more botanical knowledge than Cox, 
and employed much of his time in the examination of plants. . . . 
Dr. Clarkson proposed a ride early in the morning to Bartram's 
seat, two miles beyond the Schulkill. . . ." ^^ Accordingly early 
the next morning Cutler, accompanied by a large group of 
"members of Convention," ®® including Governor Martin, 
James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, alighted at the 
Garden from Dr. Clarkson' s "phaeton" and looked for Mr. 
Bartram, whom they found, 

with another man, hoeing in his garden, in a short jacket and trowsers, 
and without shoes or stockings. He at first stared at us, and seemed to 
be somewhat embarrassed at seeing so large and gay a company so early 
in the morning. Dr. Clarkson . . . introduced me to him, and informed 
him that I wished to converse with him on botanical subjects, . . . He 
presently got rid of his embarrassment, and soon became very sociable. 
. . . We ranged the several alleys, and he gave me the generic and 
specific names, place of growth, properties, etc., so far as he knew 
them. . . . The other gentlemen were very free and sociable with him, 
particularly Governor Martin, who has a smattering of botany and a 
fine taste for natural history. 

Dunlap and Brown's visit must have taken place at a much 
later time, for Dunlap says, 

Arrived at the Botanist's Garden, we approached an old man who, 
with a rake in his hand, was breaking the clods of earth in a tulip bed. 
His hat was old and flapped over his face, his coarse shirt was seen near 
his neck, as he wore no cravat or kerchief; his waistcoat and breeches 
were both of leather, and his shoes were tied with leather strings. We 
approached and accosted him. He ceased his work, and entered into 
conversation with the ease and politeness of nature's noblemen. His 

'* Life, Journals, and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler. Cincinnati, 
1888. I, 258. 
'"' Apparently the Constitutional Convention. 


countenance was expressive of benignity and happiness. This was the 
botanist, traveller, and philosopher we had come to see.^^ 

Both sketches of Bartram emphasize his modesty and sim- 
plicity and, along with what we know from other sources, help 
us to round out the character of the man. William Bartram had 
modesty and integrity; he had piety and idealism, and yet a 
sense of the practical; he had geniality and optimism; he had 
courage and enthusiasm; he enjoyed keenly the simple vicissi- 
tudes of life. Above all, he had an insatiable curiosity. These 
characteristics permeate his writing and make the reading of it 
the exhilarating experience of communing with a rich personality. 

Perhaps Bartram's curiosity should be stressed first among the 
attributes that have helped to make his writings a memorable 
discovery. In an age when what is rather vaguely called " the 
spirit of romanticism" imbued man with a new sense of wonder, 
Bartram strove to know the curiosities of nature, and he was at 
once naive enough and subtle enough to see the marvelous and 
curious even in the most ordinary and normal manifestations 
of nature. He was primarily a naturalist, to be sure, but his 
interests were eclectic. He observed trees and shrubs, geological 
formations and Indian mounds, land and aquatic animals, man 
and woman, human institutions and divine emanations. His 
curiosity marks him a child of an age when men sought " to 
become more and more aware of the infinite ties binding all 
men together to each other and to the great forces of the uni- 
verse of which they are the noblest manifestation," ^^ and 
coupled with his abilities and modesty it has proved especially 
atr active. 

" Obedient to the admonitions of my attendant spirit, curi- 
osity," he confesses, "... I again sat off on my southern 
excursion ..." {Travels, 9). His curiosity leads him on, and 
Bartram yields to its admonitions easily and cheerfully. His 
love of the unknown is a keen but pleasurable appetite. He 
remains in any place only long enough to taste its beauty. At 
Augusta, he tells us, he was "much delighted with the new 

^■^ William Dunlap, A History of the American Theatre. New York, 1832, 
p. 170. 

°* John H. Randall, The Making of the Modern Mind. Boston, 1926, p. 42. 


beauties . . . yet, as I was never long satisfied with present 
possession, however endowed with every possible charm to 
attract the sight, or intrinsic value to engage and fix the esteem, 
I was restless to be searching for more, my curiosity being 
insatiable" (p. 34). 

Occasionally Bartram may rationalize his curiosity, justifying 
his driving impulse on the ground that it results in public good. 
Thus when a young mechanic, who has accompanied him for 
some days, suddenly decides to leave him, Bartram has no 
regrets. " Our views," he philosophizes, " were probably totally 
opposite; he . . . seemed to be actuated by no other motives, 
than either to establish himself . . . where, by following his 
occupation, he might be enabled to procure without much toil 
and danger, the necessaries and conveniences; or by industry 
and frugality, perhaps establish his fortune. Whilst I, continu- 
ally impelled by a restless spirit of curiosity, in pursuit of new 
productions of nature, my chief happiness consisted in tracing 
and admiring the infinite power, majesty and perfection of the 
great Almighty Creator, and in the contemplation, that through 
divine aid and permission, I might be instrumental in discover- 
ing, and introducing into my country, some original productions 
of nature, which might become useful to society" (p. 73). 

Sometimes his curiosity led him into danger, as when he fought 
off the onslaughts of alligators and although he was employing 
his time in paddling close along the shore, he yet " could not 
forbear looking . . . behind" (p. 126). Always it led him into 
hardship. "Next morning early," he records, "sat off, on my 
return, and taking a different path back, for the sake of variety, 
though somewhat farther about, and at a greater distance from 
the banks of the river. ..." (p. 412). And sometimes it en- 
tailed the risking of his health. " Although my health was not 
established, feverish symptoms continuing to lurk about me, I 
resolved, notwithstanding, immediately to embrace this offer, 
and embarked again . . ." (p. 413). 

There is no undue pride in Bartram's admissions of his yield- 
ing to his " attendant spirit." For modesty, we have seen, was 
another outstanding characteristic of his personality. The record 
of his exploits is written with a winning humility. He accepts 
them as mere facts behind which God's wisdom operates. A 


diligent Investigator, he came to conclusions oa many subjects, 
but the statement of his conclusions is never dogmatic. His 
knowledge of certain tribes of American Indians was so exten- 
sive that he was invited to contribute a series of authoritative 
answers to specific questions, even before his Travels appeared.^^ 
Yet his remarks in the Travels on what the government's policy 
towards the Indians ought to be are apologetic, for he is con- 
vinced " that such important matters are far above my ability" 
(p. xxxiv) . 

He was equally modest in the expression of his opinions on 
other matters, where he might have every right to be oracular — 
if such a right be yielded to any investigator. In geology, for 
instance, his knowledge was of considerable reputation. Every- 
where in his Travels and in his Diary are indications of his 
extensive observations. Men of science with whom he corre- 
sponded spoke with respect of his accomplishment in this field. 
Professor Barton printed an article of his, " Conjectures relative 
to the Scite of Bristol, in Penn." "° Yet he refused to insist 
on his knowledge, and, in one case, having offered a plausible 
solution for a particular soil's behavior, he modestly adds: 
" however, of these causes and secret operations of nature I am 
ignorant, and resume again my proper employment, that of 
discovering and collecting data ..." {Travels, p. 23). 

The expression of his ornithological ideas is another illustra- 
tion of his modesty. The Encyclopedia Americana classifies him 
as a "botanist and ornithologist," and Johnson's Universal 
Cyclopedia quotes the opinion of D. Cones that William 
Bartram was " the starting point of a distinctly American school 
of ornithology." Alexander Wilson sent him imitations of birds 
" for your opinion and correction, which I value beyond those 
of anybody else," "^ and wrote that he was satisfied " that none 

*" " Observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians. William Bartram, 
1789." Transactions of the American Ethnological Society, New York, 1853. 
Ill, Part I, 1-81. Also, "' Answers to Queries about Indians by William Bar- 
tram " in John Howard Payne's Commonplace Book (In MS. Division, Penn- 
sylvania Historical Society). 

^"^ ?roj. Barton's Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal, I, Part II, 1805, 

^'^^ Biographical Sketch of William Bartram with Portrait. American Philo- 
sophical Society Pamphlet, v. 1166. 


. . . have bestowed such minute attention on the subject as you 
yourself have done. Indeed, they [the other American orni- 
thologists] have done little more than copied your nomenclature 
and observations, and referred to your authority." "^ In spite 
of all this, Bartram always admitted the deficiencies of his 
knowledge on this subject, and after printing his list of Ameri- 
can birds — "the most complete and correct . . . prior to the 
work of Alexander Wilson "^°^ — he was still aware "that 
there are yet several kinds of land birds, and a great number 
of aquatic fowl that have not come under my particular notice, 
therefore shall leave them to the investigation of future travel- 
ling naturalists of greater ability and industry" {Travels, 296). 

Closely related to this feeling of modesty, almost humility, 
is Bartram' s simple piety. The glories of nature are a mani- 
festation of God's beneficence, and so are his own natural 
discoveries. He has had extraordinary success on his journey; 
he has kept his good health, has escaped accidents " incident to 
such excursions, through uninhabited wildernesses, and an 
Indian frontier," and he has made an "extensive collection of 
new discoveries of natural productions"; ought he to preen 
himself on his accomplishment.'^ "On the recollection," he 
concludes, "of so many and great favors and blessings, I now, 
with a high sense of gratitude, presume to ofifer up my sincere 
thanks to the Almighty, the Creator and Preserver " (pp. 46-47) . 

He thus "presumes " on many occasions in the record of his 
travels, sometimes even to the extent of growing fervent and 
poetic. Extremely sensitive to all forms of beauty, Bartram at 
times becomes himself a voice of nature hymning the praises of 
an all-creative God. One such hymn will suffice as an illustra- 
tion. Standing on a little mound, he views, at sunrise, a prospect 
which reveals " at one view the whole of the sublime and 
pleasing." As "nature again revives," he obeys "the cheerful 
summons of the gentle monitors of the meads and groves." 

Ye vigilant and faithful servants of the Most High! Ye who wor- 
ship the Creator morning, noon, and eve, in simplicity of heart ! I haste 
to join the universal anthem. My heart and voice unite with yours, in 
sincere homage to the great Creator, the universal Sovereign. 

^°' Ibid. Letter from Alexander Wilson, April, 1807. 
"» John W. Harshberger, op. cit., p. 87. 


O may I be permitted to approach the throne of merq^! May these 
my humble and penitent supphcations, amidst the universal shouts of 
homage from thy creatures, meet with thy acceptance ! 

And although I am sensible, that my service cannot increase or 
diminish thy glory, yet it is pleasing to thy servant to be permitted to 
sound thy praise ; for, O sovereign Lord ! we know that thou alone art 
perfect, and worthy to be worshipped . . . (pp. 100-101). 

The mood of night and loneliness, so different from the 
exaltation engendered by the sun, finds him no less pious: 

At midnight I awake, when I find myself alone in the wilderness of 
Florida, on the shores of Lake George. Alone indeed, but under the 
care of the Almighty . . . (p. 158). 

Bartram's piety, modesty, and simplicity cannot be well under- 
stood without a consideration of his Quakerism. Brought up in 
an atmosphere which emphasized the humble virtues of char- 
acter, Bartram was a man of peace, of few needs, and of tem- 
perate habits. His unobtrusive geniality inspires the pages of 
his work. He records his meetings with planters and traders — 
Mr. M'Intosh, James Spalding, James Bailey, Mr. Marshall, 
Mr. M'Latche, Mr. Rumsey — and has a kind word for every- 
one. Everywhere he found, he tells us, " sincerity in union with 
all the virtues, under the influence of religion" (p. 15). What 
they found can best be gleaned from such a characteristic letter 
as that of his uncle, William Bartram, written from Cape Fear 
as early as June 11, 1762, to John Bartram: 

Dear Brother 

The parting with your Son Bill this day felt harder to me than the 
Parting with my own son, his Behaviour to me & my family has been 
so agreeable as well as to others. . . .^°* 

and from the attitude of the Indians, who were generally hostile 
to the white traders that came among them. They called him 
"Puc-Puggy" or Flower Hunter and their chiefs generally re- 
ceived him " with complaisance," giving him unlimited permis- 
sion to travel over the country, and recommending him to the 
friendship and protection of th^ir people (Travels, p. 185). 
One Indian king complimented him to the extent of including 

"* Bartram Papers, I. 


him among "his own children or people, . . . adding, 'Our 
whole country is before you, where you may range about at 
pleasure, gather physic plants and flowers, and every other 
production'" (pp. 237-38). 

The Indians also saw and admired the courage of the man. 
He was not only a peculiar white stranger, who came among 
them to gather flowers instead of coming to drive an advan- 
tageous trading bargain, but a useful man. His knowledge of 
medicine was at their disposal, and so was his courage. His 
farcical description of the way he rids a terrorized village of a 
rattlesnake, indirectly reveals his own fearlessness; and the 
exploit earned for him the friendship of the Seminoles, who 
henceforth classed him as " a worthy and brave warrior" (p. 

The episode with the snake suggests a caution. A man char- 
acterized by simplicity, modesty, and honesty, whose dominant 
interest is the gathering of botanical specimens, is in danger of 
giving a wrong impression. He may appear like the caricature 
of a scientist created by Cooper in his Prairie. Bartram, however, 
was a perfectly balanced and practical person. The Indians 
treated him with kindness not because he never cheated them 
and was harmless, but because he knew how to deal with them. 
"The man presently offered us a fawn-skin of honey," he re- 
ports an encounter with a party of Indians in the woods, "which 
we gladly accepted, and at parting I presented him with some 
fish hooks, sewing needles &c. For in my travels amongst the 
Indians, I always furnished myself with such useful and accept- 
able little articles of light carriage, for presents" (p. 244). 
Nor was he so absorbed in his work that his courage might be 
the result of foolhardy abstraction. When the danger was too 
great he could change his mind about conducting his researches 
in a particular territory. Thus he admits that when "it appeared 
very plain" that he could not with safety range the Overhill 
settlements until an Indian treaty was concluded, he suddenly 
decided "to defer these researches at this time" (p. 366). 
These little practical touches season Bartram's personality and 
add to his appeal an element of confidence. One feels that he 
was by temperament well-prepared for his chosen work. His 
curiosity was supported by patience; his courage was tempered 


with common sense; his unworidliness was balanced by a native 
shrewdness and ability. 

In connection with the practical equipment of Bartram, it is 
necessary to remember his mechanical skill and his ability to 
draw and paint. His drawings, we have noted, attracted the 
attention of his father's friends and patrons in England. Dr. 
Lionel Chalmers of Charleston, South Carolina, wrote to John 
Bartram in April, 1773, that " Billy" Bartram "certainly has a 
good notion of painting." ^°^ A final tribute to his artistic ability 
is found in the fact that "most of the plates in Barton's Elements 
of Botany (1803) were engraved from drawings by Bartram." ^°^ 

To these practical details should also be added his ability in 
swimming, fishing, shooting, horsemanship, and cooking. " I 
being a pretty good swimmer," he remarks casually, apropos 
of an incident in which he helped to save a pack of horses from 
drowning, " in the midst of the bustle, and to avoid being beat 
over and perhaps wounded, leapt out, and caught hold of the 
dock of one of the horses" {Travels, 305). And again, mod- 
estly, " I plunged in ... , and being a tolerable swimmer, soon 
reached the opposite shore" (p. 445). He is equally matter of 
fact in informing us that he took his bob and "soon caught more 
trout than" he needed for his supper, although he fished in a 
lagoon the entrance to which was guarded by alligators and 
once, to save himself, he had to jump from his canoe onto the 
shore (pp. 117-8-9-20). He tells us that he "dispatched" a 
temerarious alligator " by lodging the contents of my gun in 
his head" (p. 121). As a rider, "a good spirited horse under 
me, I generally kept a-head of my companions ..." (p. 218). 
He was a good enough cook 

... to roast some trout which I had caught . . . ; their heads I stewed 
in the juice of oranges, which, with boiled rice, afforded me a whole- 
some and delicious supper (p. 158). 

^"^ The Simon Gratz Collection. Manuscript Division, Pennsylvania Historical 
Society, Philadelphia. 

^'"^ Dictionary of American Biography, II, 28 (Lane Cooper). Copies of some 
of Bartram's paintings and photographs of his drawings are preserved in the 
permanent exhibit in the natural history museum of the Philadelphia Academy of 
Natural Sciences. 


Incidentally, his references to food often suggest the gourmet: 

I staid here all night, and had for supper plenty of milk, butter, and 
very good cheese of their own make, which is a novelty in the maritime 
parts of Carolina and Georgia (p. 19) . 

. . . having in the course of the day, procured plenty of sea fowl, such 
as curlews, willets, snipes, sand birds and others ; we had them dressed 
for supper, and seasoned with excellent oysters, which lay in heaps in 
the water, close to our landing place (p. 70) . 

. . . the bream my favorite fish (p. 228). 

. . . they [squabs] were almost a lump of fat, and made us a rich 
supper ; some we roasted, and made others into a pilloe ^°'^ with rice ; 
most of them, except the bitterns and tantali, were so excessively fishy in 
taste and smell, I could not rehsh them (p. 249) . 

An interesting document, a piece of unconscious self-charac- 
terization by Bartram, has been preserved in the diary of one of 
his nephews, Dr. James Bartram. It is a letter dated September 
23, 1804, and addressed to his nephew who was about to sail 
for Batavia as Surgeon on the ship " George Washington." ^°^ 
The advice offered his nephew discloses the simple tenets of 
Bartram' s philosophy of life, which may be summarized as an 
insistence on reverence, tolerance, temperance, honesty, liber- 
ality, gallantry, and urbanity. In addition to prescribing a gen- 
eral code of conduct, Bartram also "presumes" to instruct his 
nephew on some specific points, such as what to do with his 
leisure, how to safeguard his health, and what to eat and drink 
in the tropics. It is characteristic of Bartram to suggest that the 
young man devote his leisure to " philosophic observations, and 
study; particularly physick and surgery." For "amusement, 
and profitable exercise to the mind" he recommends observa- 
tion and study of natural history, " which comprehends Zoology 
and Botany, not only the product of seas but of land when thee 

^''■' A variant of prlau. " An Oriental dish, consisting of rice boiled with fowl, 

meat, or fish, and spices, raisins, etc. — Appears in English in many forms, 

according to the language or locality whence the writer has adopted it . . . 1612 

Trap. Four Englishm. 55 The most common dish (amongst the Turks) is Pilaw 

made of Rice and small morsels of Mutton boiled . . ." (N. E. D.). 

^"^ This letter has been copied from Dr. James Bartram's diary by Mr. Henry 
L. Tones of New York, a great-grandson of Dr. Bartram, and is used in this 
study through his courtesy. See appendix. 


arrives." It is no less characteristic of Bartram to advise caution 
in the use of the " delicious fruits " of the South and abstemi- 
ousness " in the use of spiritous liquor and strong and heating 
wines." The letter ends with a postscript: "My Dear James 
fear and adore God." ^°^ 

Ernest Hartley Coleridge has stated, perhaps with a touch of 
exaggeration, that William Bartram " took up his work as a 
botanist, to put his humanitarian precepts into practice and to 
bear witness to the passionate but undogmatic faith which he 
had learned from his father's lips." "" These humanitarian pre- 
cepts and his passionate faith color all his views, whether con- 
cerning man's relations to Nature and to his fellowmen or 
whether merely topics of the day. We have noted the part 
Quakerism played in influencing his views. There remains but 
to emphasize Bartram' s kinship to the dominant views of the 
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Reason and temper- 
ance are two of his most important principles in the guidance 
of life. It is easy to see that he stressed them both in his letter 
to his nephew. Reason is the " Divine Monitor, . . . — supposed 
by the Antient Philosophers an emanation from the Divine 
Intelligence," which "points out to us . . . what is right and 
true virtue" and " decides on every operation or motion of the 
sensations ..." If we err, in spite of Reason, it is because 
"The Mind is often seduced by the interposition of our pas- 
sions and affections, by which means we can't sufficiently attend 
to and obey the dictates of Reason." ^^'^ He shared the distrust 
of the sensations typical of religion and of eighteenth century 
thought generally. 

In spite of his geniality and love of human society, he was at 
times quite bitter in his contemplations of the moral imperfec- 
tions of mankind. Alone in the woods, he could compare his 
" present situation . . . to Nebuchadnezzar's, when expelled from 

^'" In connection with this letter, it is of interest to note the following item 
appearing in William Bartram's diary: " April 18, 1818. Died this morning 
Dr. James Bartram of Kingsess grandson of the celebrated John Bartram the 
Botanist & naturalist." (Manuscript Diary of William Bartram, 1802-1822. 
In the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.) 

"" Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, 2d series, XXVII, 69-92. 

^^^ Bartram Papers, I. 


the society of men, and constrained to roam in the mountains 
and wilderness, there to herd and feed with the wild beasts of 
the forests.""^ Yet this same society that he missed when in 
the wilderness could at other times fill him with indignant 

Man is cruel. Hypocritical, a Disembler, his dissimulation exceeds that 
of any being we are acquainted with, for he dissembles dissimulation 
itself. . . . Nay the whole of Human or Worldly Wisdom is a con- 
tinual . . . practice of deceit, fraud, dissimulation & Hypocricy. The 
more any man or woman approaches to Honesty & Simplicity, the more 
he is accounted a Fool and he is in the broad road & hastening on to 
Poverty, contempt & Misery, until Death relieves him from oppression 
& disgrace.113 

The greatest single cause of man's imperfections, which man 
ironically enough calls "human wisdom," is intemperance. It 
is intemperance that makes man cruel, wasteful, avaricious, 
treacherous, unjust. It is startling to come upon Bartram's 
opinions on such subjects as government, economics, national- 
ism, war, social institutions. One suddenly realizes that this 
extremely shy, genial person, so remote from participation in 
any form of "worldly" activity, a sort of scientific monk, never- 
theless kept a sharp eye upon the world and its bustle, and 
formed opinions often characterized by a hard, shrewd pro- 
fundity. Here, for example, are a few general remarks on riches 
and covetousness : 

According to the present systems of civilization Legislators affirm 
that the strength & prosperity of a state depends on its Riches: Money 
they say is the sinews of War, the Oil which keep the political wheels 
in regular & co7itinual motion, The Mainspring of the State Machitje, 
etc. etc. And for this Reason they encourage Mechanic Arts, Manu- 
factures, Trade & commerce, in order to increase the riches of the 
people. Luxury & effeminacy is accordingly not only countenanced but 
encouraged . . . because they averr it gives spirit to Industry. . . . Even 
Industry so great & almost universally applauded a Virtue ... is among 
the pernicious & dangerous Evils, because it encourages Avarice, con- 
tention, & in the end perhaps War. . . .^i* 

Suppress Covetousness which begets contention, violence, love of 
power, riches, magnificence & fame. Intemperance destroys.^^^ 

"* Travels, 360. "* Bartram Papers, I. "* Ibid. "° Ibid. 



And here are a few comparisons between Indian "savagery" 
and white civilization: 

The Indians make war against, kill, and destroy their own species, 
and their motives spring from the same erroneous source as they do in 
all other nations of mankind; that is, the ambition of exhibiting to 
their fellows a superior character of personal and national valour, and 
thereby immortalizing themselves, by transmitting their names with 
honour and lustre to posterity; or revenge of their enemy, for public 
or personal insults ; or, lastly, to extend the borders and boundaries of 
their territories. But I cannot find, upon the strictest inquiry, that their 
bloody contests at this day are marked with deeper stains of inhumanity 
or savage cruelty, than what may be observed amongst the most civilized 
nations: they do indeed scalp their enemy, but they do not kill the 
females or children of either sex (Travels, 213). 

They are given to adultery and fornication, but, I suppose, in no 
greater excess than other nations of men (p. 213). 

One feels, however, that these views, expressed at infrequent 
intervals, were not very important to Bartram. For himself he 
had evolved a philosophy of simple faith in God, in the moral 
goodness of Nature, and in the infallibility of Reason as a true 
guide in life. These were important. They account for his 
serenity and optimism. Above all his sensitivity to the beauties 
of nature kept him spiritually young and preoccupied. Duyc- 
kinck's reaction to the Travels is fundamentally right. "All 
his faculties are alive in this book, whether he describes a tree, 
a fish, a bird, a beast, Indian, or hospitable planter. He de- 
tects fragrance, vitality, and health everywhere in the animal 
world." ^^® Inheriting a simple worship of God and an interest 
in God's world, in its simple, natural forms, William Bartram 
found in the study and contemplation of nature a source of 
delight and an answer to the perplexities of his mind. 

' Cyclopaedia of American Literature, I, 234. 



Before discussing a man's philosophy of nature it is necessary 
to determine in what sense or senses he uses the term, for, as 
Professor Lovejoy has cautioned us,^ the word "Nature" has 
been employed to designate many and diverse concepts. For- 
tunately, in the case of William Bartram, the task is not a diffi- 
cult one. He had no complex philosophies; he was, we have 
seen, a scientist and a Quaker, and it was this duality of his 
interests and influences which colored his view of nature. As a 
scientist he conceived of nature as, in Professor Lovejoy' swords, 
" empirical reality "; as a Quaker, he saw in nature the mani- 
festation, by means of this empirical reality, of God's majesty 
and beauty. 

Bartram's scientific interests were centered in what was rather 
loosely designated in the eighteenth century as natural history. 
His particular branch of that study was botany, but he did not 
hesitate to undertake zoological, ornithological, geological, eth- 
nological, and even what would be termed today psychological 
investigations. As a botanist he followed the example of his 
father, who in turn was one of the many naturalists throughout 
the world whose enthusiasm had been stimulated by the work 
of the great Linnaeus. E. A. W. Zimmermann, Bartram's 
German translator and a professor "matheseos et physices" at 
Braunschweig,^ claimed that Linnaeus had revolutionized the 
study of natural history and its related sciences. Linnaeus's 
" Genauigkeit im Beobachten, sein Anordnen und Eintheilen 
nach festen Grundsatzen, seine Anwendungen der von ihm 
enteckten und beobachteten Korper blieben nicht auf seine 
eigene Wissenschaf t eingeschrankt ; es verbreitete sich eben da- 
durch gleichsam unmerklich eine neue Methode der Ordnung, 

^Arthur O. Lovejoy, " Nature as Aesthetic Norm." Modern Language Notes, 
XLII, 444-450. 

^ Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, XLV, 256. 



des Forschens und Untersuchens in alle Nebenzweige dieser 
Kenntnisse." ^ Even Professor Lovejoy, who is inclined to dis- 
pute the originahty and magnitude of Linnaeus' s contribution 
to science, concedes that "by the force and serious enthusiasm 
of his personality, and by the example of his admirably exact 
observation, Linnaeus stimulated a prodigious amount of ardent 
and careful botanical and zoological research on the part of 
others."* This influence of Linnaeus and his fellow scholars 
and disciples contributed greatly to the end that '" Careful ob- 
servation of nature and accurate experimentation had at last 
become . . . respectable. . . ."^ Buffon's dictum that "The 
only good science is the knowledge of facts " ® expresses the 
spirit underlying the widespread study of the natural sciences 
in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Bartram's indebted- 
ness to both Linnaeus and Buffon has already been noted. 

Around Bartram's dual attitude towards nature — the scien- 
tific and the Quaker — other encrustations are perceptible. For 
one thing, the aesthetic appeal of nature runs through all of 
Bartram's reactions. Nature is beauty; being a manifestation 
of God's greatness and benevolence it could not help being 
beautiful. The objective scientist in Bartram occasionally ob- 
serves a phenomenon in nature which clashes with the concept 
of benevolence: his description, for instance, of a spider pounc- 
ing upon a bee, inflicting wounds like a "butcher," and finally 
devouring it, is quite horribly realistic.'^ But such disquieting 
moments are rare in Bartram. Nourished upon the ideals of the 
mid-eighteenth century, Bartram accepts the physical world of 
God as wholly good, leans heavily upon the doctrine of the 
superiority of Nature and man in a primitive state over Nature 
and man subjected to the processes of civilization, and preaches 
sensibility and humanitarianism. Yet the objective scientist 

^ " Vorrede des Ubersetzers." Retsen durch Nord- und Sud-Karolina, etc. 
Aus dem Englischen mit Anmerkungen von E. A. W. Zimmermann. Berlin, 1793. 

* '" The Place of Linnaeus in the History of Science," by Arthur O. Lovejoy. 
Popular Science Monthly, LXXI (1907), 501. 

" John Herman Randall, The Making of the Modern Mind, p. 264. 

* Quoted in L. Ducros, Les Encyclopedistes, 326. See Randall, op. cit., 264 
and 280. 

■^ Travels, xxix-xxx-xxxi. 


sometimes forgets his doctrines and gives expression to medita- 
tions that conflict with the generahty of his views. 

Philip Marshall Hicks, in tracing the development of the 
natural history essay in American literature, finds that, in spite 
of Bartram's numerous predecessors in this field, it was Bartram 
who was responsible for the introduction into American natural 
history literature of four elements: "scientific observation, 
aesthetic appreciation of nature, the belief in the immanence 
of the creative principle in nature, and the feeling of com- 
passion for the suffering of the lower orders." * The prede- 
cessors specifically mentioned are Sir Walter Raleigh, Captain 
John Smith, William Wood, Thomas Morton, John Josselyn, 
Jonathan Carver, and Mark Catesby. Remembering the purpose 
of Raleigh's and Smith's expeditions to America one is not sur- 
prised, of course, at the absence of these elements from either 
Raleigh's letters or Smith's Map of Virginia. The writings of 
Wood, Morton, and Josselyn^ all deal with New England. Only 
Wood and Josselyn had any scientific interest at all, but their 
equipment did not always measure up to their aims. Carver's 
account of his travels attempts, in part, to describe the same 
territory that Bartram covered some years later, but his book is 
now generally believed to be mainly a compilation of other 
men's writings rather than a record of original observations.^" 
Mark Catesby's work^^ is a different story; it is based on the 
prolonged studies of a trained naturalist. Bartram's acquaintance 
with Catesby's volume has been noted, as well as his acquaintance 
with the work of another English naturalist, George Edwards. 
To the scientific observations of Catesby and Edwards must be 
added those of Peter Kalm,^^ a pupil of Linnaeus, and John 

* op. cit., p. 28. 

9 William Wood, New England Prospect, London, 1634; Thomas Morton, 
The New England Canaan, Amsterdam, 1637; John Josselyn, New England's 
Rarities, London, 1672. 

^° Jonathan Carver, Travels through the Interior Parts of North America in 
the Years 1766, 17^7, 1768. London, 1778. For an estimate of the authenticity 
of Carver's book see Cambridge History of American Literature, I, 192-193. 

^^ Mark Catesby, Natural History of the Carolinas, Florida and the Bahama 
Islands. London, 1748. 

^^ Pehr Kalm, Travels into North America. English translation by J. R. 
Forster. London, 1770-1771. 


Bartram himself. Genuine scientific interest in nature was well- 
developed when William Bartram published his Travels. 

Yet the statement made by Mr. Hicks as to the pioneering 
significance of William Bartram' s work is true nevertheless. The 
four elements Bartram is said to have introduced were new to 
American nature literature, even though they did not originate 
with Bartram. They were popular currents in eighteenth- 
century European thought and literature. Along with the devel- 
opment of a scientific interest in nature there is perceptible a 
growing aesthetic appreciation of nature. Catesby's Natural 
History was preceded by Pope's Windsor Forest, the nature 
poems of Lady Winchelsea, and by Thomson's Seasons. The 
"belief in the immanence of the creative principle in nature" 
as well as "compassion for the suffering of the lower order" 
can both be found in the Deists and particularly in Lord 
Shaftesbury, who claimed "that the Deity is sufficiently revealed 
through natural phenomena "^^ and that "compassion is the 
supreme form of moral beauty, the neglect of it is the greatest 
of all offenses against nature's ordained harmony." " It is in 
the expression of these concepts of nature as modified and col- 
ored by his own temperament and personality that Bartram' s 
originality lay. 

There can be no question of any philosophy of nature in 
Bartram' s scientific cataloguing of meteorological and seasonal 
phenomena, mere commonplace reporting of observations, such 
as the keeping of a calendar which many members of the Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society, including Thomas Jefferson, indulged 
in, as part of a cooperative undertaking. In such a work as his 
Manuscript Diary, 1802-1822,^^ Bartram could be terse and ob- 
jective, an uncritical recorder of changes in temperature, bird 
migrations, the flowering of plants, the appearances and dis- 
appearances of insects, interspersed with news items: 

March 20. ... a flock of geese returning to the north. 

22. ... kingfisher arrived today from the southward. . . . 

^^ C. E. Moore, " Shaftesbury and the Ethical Poets in England." PMLA, 
XXXI (1916), 267. Shaftesbury's Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, 
and Times was published in 1711. 

^* Moore, op. cit., 271. ^^ In the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. 


May 4. ... some buildings set on fire by the lightining & burnt — 
belonging to John Pearson. 

July 11, 12, l\ 14 & 15. Many cases of yellow fever in the City, 
safd to be brot in a vessel from the Isle St. Domingo. 

21. Apples ripe. 

July 30. Therm. 98, 99, 102, & 104 in shade at different places. 

Jan. 8. Was surprised at hearing the voice of the Cat-bird in the 

It is in his aesthetic expression, in giving vent to his reactions 
to the beauty of nature, that he becomes the subjective philoso- 
pher uttering views that he subtly absorbed in the atmosphere 
of his eighteenth-century home, in the eighteenth-century world 
in which he lived, and from the eighteenth-century books that 
he read. 

Beginning the second paragraph of the book which was to 
make him famous, he meditates upon "This world, as a glorious 
apartment of the boundless palace of the sovereign Creator, . . . 
furnished with an infinite variety of animated scenes, inexpressi- 
bly beautiful and pleasing, equally free to the inspection and 
enjoyment of all his creatures" {Travels, xiv). He perceives 
" In every order of nature ... a variety of qualities distributed 
amongst individuals, designed for different purposes and uses," 
and concludes " that the Author has impartially distributed his 
favours to his creatures, so that the attributes of each one seem 
to be of sufficient importance to manifest the divine and inimi- 
table workmanship" (p. xvi). 

All his meditations arise first in his aesthetic response to the 
external aspects of nature and then become sublimated and 
intellectualized into theological and moral philosophy. He first 
attains " a grand view of the boundless ocean " and then trans- 
lates his emotion into the pious invocation, " O thou Creator 
supreme, almighty! how infinite and incomprehensible thy 
works! most perfect, and every way astonishing!" (p. 59)- 
Looking at the great savanna, he first contemplates " the un- 
limited, varied, and truly astonishing native wild scenes of land- 


scape and perspective" and then exclaims: "how is the mind 
agitated and bewildered, at being thus, as it were, placed on the 
borders of a new world ! On the first view of such an amazing 
display of the wisdom and power of the supreme author of 
nature, the mind for a moment seems suspended, and impressed 
with awe" (p. 189). He first observes the animal creation, 
"finely formed self -moving beings," and then arrives at spiritual 

We admire the mechanism of a watch, and the fabric of a piece of 
brocade, as being the production of art ; these merit our admiration, and 
must excite our esteem for the ingenious artist or modifier ; but nature 
is the work of God omnipotent ; and an elephant, nay even this world, 
is comparatively but a very minute part of his works. If then the 
visible, the mechanical part of the animal creation, the mere material 
part, is so admirably beautiful, harmonious, and incomprehensible, what 
must be the intellectual system.? that inexpressibly more essential prin- 
ciple, which secretly operates within 7 that which animates the inimitable 
machines, which gives them motion, impowers them to act, speak, and 
perform, this must be divine and immortal.? " (pp. xxiv-xxv). 

This attitude is commonly found in the eighteenth century — 
in the English Deists, in Rousseau's Profession de foi du Vicaire 
Savoyard, in Bernardin de St. Pierre, and in many of the English 

Having passed from "the visible . . . part of the animal 
creation" to the "essential principle" it is easy for Bartram to 
speculate upon the problem of the intellectual and spiritual 
difference between animals and man, who is also but a part of 
God's creation. Thus from the aesthetic and the moral Bartram 
passes into what approximates our modern psychological inter- 
est in animals. In his case, this interest extended also to plants. 
Observing the behaviour of the Dionea muscipula he is aston- 
ished at its artifice " to intrap incautious deluded insects . . . 
there behold one of the leaves just closed upon a struggling fly; 
another has gotten a worm; its hold is sure, its prey can never 
escape — carnivorous vegetable! " Soon his astonishment yields 
to philosophical reflection. " Can we after viewing this object," 
he argues, " hesitate a moment to confess, that vegetable beings 
are endued with some sensible faculties or attributes, similar to 
those that dignify animal nature; they are organical, living, and 


self -moving bodies, for we see here, in this plant, motion and 
volition." ^® 

Nowhere else is Bartram so plain-spoken in his belief that 
vegetables have volition. In the very next paragraph he is not 
quite certain whether it is "sense or instinct that influences" 
the actions of vegetables, and decides merely that " it must be 
some impulse," adding the query: " or does the hand of the 
Almighty act and perform this work in our sight?" {Travels, 
xxi) . He recognizes, of course, differences between plants and 
animals: " animals have the powers of sound, and are loco- 
motive," yet in essentials the differences are slight. " Vegetables " 
too, he observes, " have the power of moving and exercising 
their members, and have the means of transplanting and colon- 
izing their tribes almost over the surface of the whole earth," 
(p. yiyin), and besides, "The vital principle or efficient cause 
of motion and action, in the animal and vegetable system, per- 
haps may be more similar than we generally apprehend" (pp. 
xxi-xxii) . 

When he discusses animals, however, Bartram is much more 
definite in his theories. His observations of animal behavior are 
numerous and detailed, and his interpretations merge into a 
coherent system of thought. The basis of the system is the belief 
that nature is an emanation of a benevolent God, and that since 
the animal creation is a part of nature, it therefore, too, is 
benevolent. Consequently he becomes a champion of the right 
of animals to be treated humanely. A good deal of this syllo- 
gistic reasoning is nothing more than humanitarian emotion 
rationalized; this, however, does not minimize Bartram' s con- 
tribution to the description and understanding of animal 

His study of the behavior of a crow ^^ is as cautiously worded 
as any modern scientist might wish. At the outset he warns us 
that he does not " here speak of the crow, collectively, as giving 
an account of the whole race," for he is convinced " that these 
birds differ as widely as men do from each other, in point of 

^* Travels, xx-xxi. Van Doren's edition of the Travels has "' familiar " for 
■" similar" (p. 19), which is obviously a misprint. 

^^ " Anecdotes of an American Crow." By William Bartram. Phila. Med. & 
Phys. Journal, I, Part I, 1804, pp. 89-95. 


talents and acquirements." He is speaking, he tells us, "of a 
particular bird of that species," which he "reared from the 
nest." He proceeds to give an account of the developing senses 
of this particular bird, senses which " seemed, as in man, to be 
only the organs or instruments of his intellectual powers, and 
of their effects, as directed towards the accomplishment of 
various designs, and the gratification of the passions." This 
study of his pet crow, whom Bartram named Tom, is so typical 
of Bartram' s observation and rationalizing interpretation that 
more or less lengthy quotation of representative passages seems 

This was a bird of a happy temperament. . . . He was tractable and 
benevolent, docile and humble, whilst his genius demonstrated extra- 
ordinary acuteness, and lively sensations. All these good qualities were 
greatly in his favor, for they procured him friends. . . . But what 
seemed most extraordinary, he seemed to have the wit to select and 
treasure up in his mind, and the sagacity to practice, that kind of 
knowledge which procured him the most advantage and profit. 

He had great talent, and a . . . propensity to imitation . . . bragging 
... of his achievements. 

This bird had an excellent memory. . . . He would . . . bear cor- 
rection with wonderful patience and humility, supplicating with piteous 
and penitent cries and actions ... he would console himself with 
chattering ... he would . . . approach me for forgiveness and recon- 
ciliation ... he would . . . diffidently advance, with soft-soothing 
expressions, and a sort of circumlocution. . . . 

Tom appeared to be influenced by a lively sense of domination (an 
attribute prevalent in the animal creation) : but, his ambition, in this 
respect, seemed to be moderated by a degree of reason, or reflection. . . . 

Tom (I believe from a passion of jealousy) would approach me, 
with his usual caresses, and flattery, and after securing my notice and 
regard, he would address the dog in some degree of complaissance, and 
by words and action ; and, if he could obtain access to him, would tickle 
him with his bill, jump upon him, and compose himself, for a little 
while. It was evident, however, that this seeming sociability was mere 
artifice to gain an opportunity to practice some mischievous trick; for 
no sooner did he observe the old dog to be dosing, than he would be 
sure to pinch his lips, and pluck his beard. . . . 

It would be endless to recount instances of this bird's understanding, 
cunning, and operations, which, certainly, exhibited incontestable 
demonstrations of a regular combination of ideas, premeditation, reflec- 
tion, and contrivance, which influenced his operations. 


Bartram, however, is not always so cautious in stating that he 
is speaking only o£ a particular bird and not of a " whole race." 
More often his scientific curiosity is tinged with his humani- 
tarianism and his studies in animal psychology are at the same 
time a defense of the whole animal kingdom. His father, John 
Bartram, writing earlier in the century, was of the opinion that 
" the creatures commonly called brutes possess higher qualifica- 
tions, and more exalted ideas, than our traditional mystery- 
mongers are willing to allow them."^® William Bartram on the 
same subject expressed not merely an '" opinion " but a positive 
conviction which was an integral part of his whole philosophy 
of life. In the lengthy general dissertation found among his 
manuscripts he states that he considers it 

... as a duty incumbent on me to declare my sentiments freely on a 
subject though of little moment to Mankind in general at this time. 
Yet to me of much importance. Namely of the Dignity of Animal 
Nature, with respect to the Station or Degree they hold in the grand 
System of Creation in this world. When considered in a Physiological 
sense, The great Naturalist & Phylosopher Linnaeus has constituted the 
whole terrestrial system under Three grand divisions which he calls 
kingdoms in Nature, Viz. the Mineral, a confused mass of inanimate 
matter, mixed together, consisting of four elements, namely, Earth, 
Water, Air & Fire. 2dly Vegetables, which are organical bodies ani- 
mated, but not having sensation. 3, Animates, which are Living organ- 
ical self-moving Bodies endowed with sentiment. At the head, or first 
in the Animal Kingdom he hath placed Man. A being endued with 
Wisdom the power & prerogative (above all other Terrestrial beings) 
of knowing himself and his Creator. This wisdom (sapientia) he 
imagins to be a Ray, emanation or particle of the Divine Intelligence 
communing with this Spirit or Mind of Man. . . . 

We have no certain knowledge that Animals below the order of 
Mankind have no Intellectual powers. . . . After all the pains & labour 
which Buffon has taken to explain away their Intellectual & Rational 
Powers. He has thereby sufficiently established a truly wonderful 
Instinct, an Intuitive knowledge or understanding which he at the same 
time asserts to be the same in common with Man. ... I cannot believe, 
I cannot be so impious, nay my soul revolts, is distressed, by such con- 
jectures as to . . . imagin that Man, who is guilty of more mischief & 
wickedness than all other Animals together in this world should be 

" Sketch of John and William Bartram." Popular Science Monthly, XL, 834. 


exclusively endued with knowledge of the Creator & capable of express- 
ing his love, gratitude & homage to the Great Author of Being. . . .^^ 

His defense of the " dignity of animal Nature " is supported 
by his general Romantic primitivism. In spite of an occasional 
reservation fostered by his scientific studies, he generally leaned 
to the theory that everything that came from the Creator's 
hands w^as good, and that imperfections were the product of 
man. He observed, of course, that not only man but also his 
pet crow^ was capable of dissimilation — a vice he could not 
forgive; that cattle and horses, as well as man, were given to 
intemperance — another vice he abhorred ; that untutored Indians, 
living in primitive blissfulness, often exhibited "vices, immor- 
alities, and imperfections." ^° Yet, in general, he believed 

that we act most rationally & vertously when our actions seem to 
operate from simple instinct, or approach nearest to the manners of the 
Animal creation. For if we examine minutely the Morality or Manners 
of Animals, & compare them with those tribes of the human Race who 
yet remain in the simple state of primitive Nature, as our Indians, who 
have had but little intercourse with white people, we shall find but 
little difference between their manners & the animal creation in general.^^ 

His views on this subject of the simple perfection of primitive 
manners and their similarity to animal behavior are given in 
great detail. "Having resided some considerable time amongst 
several of these nations," he goes on to say, " I can give a pretty 
concise view, both of their Arts & Sciences, & their Morality." " 
He then discusses Indian manners and customs in respect to 
love, reproduction, care of their young, and other central topics 
of human existence. The Indians build homes. They protect 
their persons and property. They protect the aged. " Instinct, 
knowledge or Reason directs them how, to clothe themselves 

^^ As already noted, in the preceding chapter, there is nothing to indicate 
whether the manuscript is a fragment of a long letter addressed to some friend 
or whether it is the rough draft of a philosophical paper. It does, however, 
contain the marks of a red wax seal. 

^^ Travels, 212. 

^^ Bartram Papers, I. 

^^ Ibid. For a more extended study of Bartram's treatment of the Indian see 
the next chapter. 


in summer and to utilize furs in winter. Tiiey sing hymns to 
the Great Spirit. Express joy & sorrow." He then makes his 

All these Actions & movements ... we observe in the Animal 
Creation likewise, which we call Instinct in them or a Divine Intuitive 
knowledge but can't confess it to be Reason or Intelligence, because 
forsooth it will detract from the Dignity of Human Nature. . . .^^ 

Conceding that animals cannot always do the things that man 
can do, such, for instance, as weaving brocade and building 
ships and watches, Bartram observes that many animals exceed 
man in ingenuity. No man can make a spider's web, a honey- 
comb with wax and honey, or a sea sponge. " A man alone," 
he remarks, " cannot make a living animal indued with a nature 
or powers of reproduction. He can at most only work upon or 
modify matter already created to his hand. And so can most 
other animals in some degree or other. . . . " ^* In his parallel 
between animals and man he goes so far as to claim the posses- 
sion of language by animals. They tutor their young. They use 
sounds and words. Birds have a universal language. "Now," he 
concludes, " if Animals have a vocal Language, it is self-evident 
that they have Intelligence, they have Ideas & Understanding." ^^ 

His statement that birds have a "universal language" is 
elaborated in his Introduction to the Travels: 

Birds are in general social and benevolent creatures; intelligent, 
ingenious, volatile, active beings: and this order of animal creation 
consists of various nations, bands, or tribes, as may be observed from 
their different structure, manners, and languages, or voice; each nation, 
though subdivided into many different tribes, retaining its general 
form or structure, a similarity of customs, and a sort of dialect or 
language, particular to that nation or genus from which those tribes 
seem to have descended or separated. What I mean by a language in 
birds, is the common notes or speech, that they use when employed in 
feeding themselves and their young, calling on one another, as well 
as their menaces against their enemy; for their songs seem to be musical 
compositions, performed only by the males, about the time of incuba- 
tion, in part to divert and amuse the female. . . . This harmony, with 
the tender solicitude of the male, alleviates the toils, cares and dis- 
tresses of the female, consoles her in solitary retirement whilst setting 

'" Bartram Papers, I; Bartram 's italics. '* Ibid. "Ibid. 


(sic), and animate (sic) ^^ her with affection and attachment to him- 
self in preference to any other. The volatihty of their species, and 
operation of their passions and affections, are particularly conspicuous 
in the different tribes of the thrush, famous for song; on a sweet May 
morning we see the red thrush (turdus rufus) perched on an elevated 
sprig of snowy Hawthorn . . . exerting their (sic) accomplishments in 
song, striving by varying and elevating their voices to excel each other, we 
observe a very agreeable variation, not only in tone but in modulation; 
the voice of one is shrill, another lively and elevated, others sonorous 
and quivering. . . .^7 

It is apparent that Bartram did not believe that all birds in 
the universe had one language, since he definitely speaks of 
"languages" and "dialects." It is more than probable that 
when he stated that birds have a universal language he meant 
merely that all birds in the universe had some sort of sound 
communication with members of their own species. 

This entire point is not quite so important in the study of 
Bartram's philosophy of nature as the use he made of it. He 
used it as but one item in a vast series which proved to him that 
all nature is good and wise and that, consequently man's con- 
duct ought to emulate nature. " Let us," he preached, "... by 
studying and contemplating the works and power of God, learn 
wisdom and understanding in the economy of nature. . . . Let 
us be obedient to the ruling powers in such things as regard 
human affairs, our duties to each other, and all creatures and 
concerns that are submitted to our care and controul." ^* In a 
word, nature, next to being a source of aesthetic delight to 
him, was also a guide to moral conduct.^^ If he emphasized 
the benevolence of birds and other animals and spoke even 

"" These grammatical errors are corrected in the Van Doren text, which also 
employs a more modern system of punctuation. 

" Travels, xxxi-xxxii. 

'Ubid., 57. 

'" One cannot help noting the striking similarity between Bartram's philosophy 
of nature and Emerson's as expressed in " Nature," with its grand divisions into 
Nature as Commodity, Nature as Beauty, Nature as Language, Nature as 
Discipline, etc. It has already been noted (see Preface) that Carlyle had called 
Emerson's attention to Bartram's Travels in enthusiastic terms, but that was 
after Emerson had published his Nature. For a detailed treatment of Bartram's 
influence on English and American literature see Part III and Conclusion. 


of the rattle-snake as of a "generous" and "magnanimous" 
creature '° — thereby unwittingly stimulating Coleridge's poetic 
imagination — it was partly because he believed that as a matter 
of simple justice man owed all animals humane treatment. All 
animal creation is peaceably disposed "towards mankind, whom 
they seem to venerate," ^^ why cannot mankind reciprocate? 

The history of man's attitude towards animals merits a sepa- 
rate study. Here it is but necessary to point out the obvious fact 
that man's treatment of animals follows man's philosophical 
attitude towards them. It is also quite obvious that no move- 
ment starts suddenly in a certain year, decade, or even century, 
without having roots in a previous period. What is commonly 
designated as the humanitarian impulse of the eighteenth cen- 
tury can be traced here and there in the writings of earlier 
centuries. Is Montaigne, for instance, less humanitarian than 
Thomson ?^^ It is nevertheless true that the impulse toward 
justice for the weak and oppressed, including animals, becomes 
more widespread in the eighteenth century and grows into what 
historians call a movement. By the time Bartram writes his plea 
for the Negro, the Indian, and the animal kingdom thousands 
of similar pleas are heard all around him. On this one point of 
the humane treatment of animals it is well to remember that 
the atmosphere in which Bartram moved, from his childhood 
on, prepared him for the championing of the views he held. 

Bartram's father, in spite of his enthusiasm for all phases of 
natural science, was not a zoologist. He confessed that " As for 
the animals and insects, it is very few that I touch of choice, 
and most with uneasiness. Neither can I behold any of them, 
that have not done me a manifest injury, in their agonizing 
mortal pains without pity." ^^ William Bartram testified that 
when he was with his father in the Catskill Mountains, a rattle- 
snake almost bit him, and John Bartram pleaded with their 
guide to spare the life of the snake.^* The importance of the 

»" Travels, 264. " Ibid., 268. 

'' For a treatment of Montaigne's contribution to the conception of a people 
good by nature, see Gilbert Chinard: L'Exotisme Americain dans la Litterature 
Franfaise au XVI Steele. Paris, 1911. Chapitre IX. 

" " Sketch of John and William Bartram." Popular Science Monthly, XL, 834. 

"Travels, 270. 


father's influence on his son has already been stressed. William's 
own gentle, benign temperament and his Quaker precepts en- 
hanced this influence. And the age in which he lived encouraged 
this impulse towards pity and sensibility. A few examples culled 
from eighteenth-century English poetry at once indicate the 
closeness of William Bartram to the thought currents of his age. 
Thomson pitied the hare hard beset 

By death in various forms, dark snares, and dogs, 
And more unpitying men . . . (Winter, 257-260) 

and questioned what the flocks had done to merit death ? (Spring, 
358-360) " And the plain ox," he asked further, " In what has 
he offended.^" He whose toil 

Patient and ever ready, clothes the land 

With all the pomp of harvest — shall he bleed, 

And struggling groan beneath the cruel hands 

Even of the clowns he feeds? (Spring, 364-368) 

Henry Baker in The Universe, published in 1727 — a year after 
Thomson's Winter — asserted that 

Though to kill there may be some pretence, 
When raging hunger bids, or self-defence; 
No cause beside can justify the deed. 
'Tis murder if not urg'd by real need. 

John Dyer thought that 

Ev'n to the reptile every cruel deed 

Is high impiety. (The Fleece, II, 22-23) 

Richard Jago mourned the death of a blackbird shot by a hunter. 
He apologized for mankind to both the dead blackbird and his 
surviving mate: 

Divided pair! forgive the wrong. 

While I with tears your fate rehearse, 

I'll join the widow's plaintive song, 
And save the lover in my verse. 

(The Blackbirds: An Elegy) 

Bartram, not being a rhymster, expressed his sentiments on 
the subject in terms which sound more sincere, though no less 


ardent. His Travels contains numerous episodes, set down simply 
and without the slightest hint of self-consciousness, of his reac- 
tions to animals. He tells us that the feeling of pity grew upon 
him with age; that in his youth, for instance, when he accom- 
panied his father on a journey into East Florida, he once almost 
stepped on a rattle-snake, then, hot with resentment, cut off a 
sapling and instantly "dispatched him." "At that time," he 
confesses, "I was entirely insensible to gratitude or mercy" 
{Travels, 271). He tells us how in later life he tried vainly to 
save the life of a bear cub, whose " continual cries " over the 
body of its parent affected him " very sensibly." " I was moved 
with compassion, and charging myself as if accessary to what 
now appeared to be a cruel murder, and endeavoring to prevail 
on the hunter to save its life, but to no effect! for by habit he 
had become insensible to compassion towards the brute crea- 
tion" (pp. xxvi-xxvii). He tells us that on another occasion he 
pleaded for the lives of a herd of deer — and just as vainly, for 
his old friend, "though he was a sensible, rational and good 
sort of man, would not yield " to his philosophy (p. 200) . And 
he tells with pride that once he did succeed in saving the life 
of a " formidable " rattle-snake which had suffered him and his 
friends " to pass many times by him during the night, without 
injuring us in the least" (p. 269). He expresses his horror at 
the "barbarous sport" he witnessed of beating out the brains 
of a young wolf with the butt of a gun (p. 398). He is happy 
that he succeeded in extorting a promise from a trader that his 
injured horse, "my old slave" as he affectionately calls him, 
whom he was obliged to leave behind, would be treated gently 
and not be made into a pack-horse (p. 443). He regrets that 
the "unfortunate" trout, which he must eat, must be caught 
by cheating (p. 108),^^ and he confides that even though a 
savanna crane made excellent soup, yet he is resolved that as 
long as he can get any other necessary food he will "prefer their 
seraphic music in the ethereal skies" (p. 221). And, finally, he 
prays to the " sovereign Lord " Whom it has pleased to " endue 
man with power and pre-eminence here on earth, and establish 
his dominion over all creatures," that man's understanding "may 

" a. Thomson, Spring, II. 403-441. 


be so illuminated with wisdom, and our hearts warmed and ani- 
mated with a due sense of charity, that we may be enabled .... 
to perform our duty towards those submitted to our service and 
protection, and be merciful to them, even as we hope for mercy " 
(p. 101). 

It has already been suggested that Bartram's impulse to study 
animals and to champion humane treatment for them owed a 
great deal of its intensity to his own kindly temperament, to the 
influence of his upbringing and his age, and to his keen sense 
of the beautiful and the unspoiled. These elements, and espe- 
cially the last, also gave rise to his " primitivism," or to what 
is generally understood by this word — the assumption of the 
superiority of the primitive, the assumption of a Golden Age in 
the past, the admiration of the Noble Savage, of the unsophisti- 
cated and the innocent. If, as Hoxie Neale Fairchild states, the 
conceptions of a Golden Age and a Noble Savage represent 
" a protest against the evil incidental to human progress," a 
looking back " from the corruptions of civilization to an imagi- 
nary primeval innocence," ^® then Bartram was quite an ardent 
protestant. Everywhere in his writings are exclamations against 
the ravages of civilization on the face of nature and the mind 
and heart of nature's child, the Indian. 

Primitive nature is beautiful. The landscape on the banks of 
the " Alatamaha " charms Bartram with its " scenes of primitive 
nature, as yet unmodified by the hand of man " {Travels, p. 49) . 
In order to continue his travels he actually has to " break away " 
from an '" inchanting little Isle of Palms," a " blessed unviolated 
spot of earth! " (p. 157). Even deserts, "vast spaces of gravel 
and plains of flat rocks . . . entirely destitute of vegetation," 
appeal to him, for soon he comes upon groves of " low, spread- 
ing Live Oaks, Zanthoxilon, Ilex, Sideroxilon, &c. and here and 
there . . . the pompous Palm tree, gloriously erect or gracefully 
bowing towards the earth," and he finds the contrast "pleasing" 
and a "wild Indian scene of primitive unmodified nature, ample 
and magnificent" (p. 243). His love of "unmodified nature" 
affects him with " extreme regret, at beholding the destruction 
and devastation which has been committed, or indiscreetly exer- 

^' The Noble Savage. Columbia University Press, 1928, p. 2. 


cised on those extensive, fruitful Orange groves, on the banks 
of St. Juan, by the new planters under the British government, 
some hundred acres of which, at a single plantation, has been 
entirely destroyed to make room for the Indigo, Cotton, Corn, 
Batatas, &c. or as they say, to extirpate the musquitoes, alledg- 
ing that groves near their dwellings are haunts and shelters for 
those persecuting insects; some plantations have not a single 
tree standing, and where any have been left, it is only a small 
coppice or clump, nakedly exposed and destitute . . . exhibiting 
a mournful, sallow countenance; their native perfectly formed 
and glossy green foliage as if violated, defaced and torn to 
pieces by the bleak winds, scorched by the burning sun-beams 
in summer, and chilled by the winter frosts" (pp. 253-54). 
This "' devastation and destruction" is all the more borne in on 
him by the contrast between what some places once were and 
what they have become. At Mount Royal, overlooking Lake 
George, stationing himself near an ancient Indian mount, he 
compares the place as it appeared to him when he had first 
visited it fifteen years before, " at which time there were no 
settlements of white people, but all appeared wild and savage; 
yet in that uncultivated state it possessed an almost inexpressi- 
ble air of grandeur, which was now entirely changed" (p. 99). 
"All," he laments, "has been cleared away and planted with 
indigo, corn and cotton," and that too abandoned. The place 
now appeared like a desert. Yet he is quick to give credit to 
the late proprietor, who had had " some taste, as he has pre- 
served the mount and this little adjoining grove inviolate" 
(p. 100). 

Bartram is no less grieved at the effect of civilization on the 
Indian, the favorite child of nature. The aesthetic element colors 
his treatment of everything connected with nature. It can be 
said that his Indians are part of the landscape he describes; 
they exist in the unviolated nature he so much admires. This 
attitude leads him to elegaic expressions over the decay of a 
Golden Age due to the coming of white traders and settlers. 
There can be no question of the sincerity of his descriptions, 
yet some of them sound like the effusions of a Utopian traveller 
rather than the report of a naturalist explorer. Here is a de- 
scription of an Indian plain: 


How happily situated is this retired spot of earth! What an elysium 
it is! where the wandering Siminole, the naked red warrior, roams 
at large, and after the vigorous chase retires from the scorching heat 
of the meridian sun. Here he reclines, and reposes under the odori- 
ferous shades of Zanthoxilon, his verdant couch guarded by the Diety; 
Liberty, and the Muses, inspiring him with wisdom and valour, whilst 
the balmy zephyrs fan him to sleep (p. 107). 

And here is a further glimpse of the blessed state of the 

They seem to be free from want or desires. No cruel enemy to 
dread; nothing to give them disquietude, but the gradual encroach- 
ments of the white people. Thus contented and undisturbed, they 
appear as blithe and free as the birds of the air, and like them as 
volatile and active, tuneful and vociferous. The visage, action and 
deportment of a Siminole, being the most striking picture of happiness 
in this life; joy, contentment, love and friendship, without guile or 
affectation, seem inherent in them, or predominant in their vital prin- 
ciple, for it leaves them but with the last breath of life (p. 212). 

And this is his comment on the Cherokees: 

. . . happy people; I mean happy in their dispositions, in their appre- 
hensions of rectitude with regard to our social or moral conduct: O 
divine simplicity and truth, friendship without fallacy or guile, 
hospitality disinterested, native, undefiled, unmodified by artificial 
refinements! (pp. 350-51). 

That the beauty of the landscape influences Bartram's ecstatic 
idealizations of Indian life is quite clear. All his descriptions 
either start or are intertwined with landscape. After a while 
the actual, observed landscape and the induced idealization be- 
come fused until his Indian territories partake of the light that 
shines on all Glittering Plains, Typees, and Green Mansions. 
Here is a view from a hill: 

... a vast expanse of green meadows and strawberry fields ; a meander- 
ing river gliding through, saluting in its various turnings the swelling, 
green, turfy knolls, embellished with parterres of flowers and fruitful 
strawberry beds; flocks of turkies strolling about them; herds of deer 
prancing in the meads or bounding over the hills ; companies of young, 
innocent Cherokee virgins, some busy gathering the rich fragrant fruit, 
others having already filled their baskets, lay reclined under the shade 
of floriferous and fragrant native bowers of Magnolia, Azalea, Phila- 
delphus, perfumed Calycanthus, sweet Yellow Jessamine and cerulean 


Glycine frutescens, disclosing their beauties to the fluttering breeze, and 
bathing their limbs in the cool fleeting streams; whilst other parties, 
more gay and libertine, were yet collecting strawberries, or wantonly 
chasing their companions, tantalising them, staining their lips and 
cheeks with the rich fruit. 

The sylvan scene of primitive innocence was enchanting . . . (pp. 

Enchanting, however, as these idyllic pictures of Utopian 
Elysiums are, whose fascination captured the imaginations of 
the English Romantic poets, there is another side to Bartram, 
a side which is just as important in a proper understanding and 
evaluation of his work. It is his practical knowledge of the pro- 
ducts and uses of landscape, paralleling, as it were, his scientific 
curiosity and observation. When he is not a poet carried away 
by the glorious aspects of nature he is not a primitivist, but a 
shrewd realist living in an enterprising age and having a utili- 
tarian perspective. One illustration will suffice: 

This vast plain together with the forests contiguous to it, if per- 
mitted (by the Siminoles who are sovereigns of these realms) to be in 
possession and under the culture of industrious planters and mechanics, 
would in a little time exhibit other scenes than it does at present, 
delightful as it is; for by the arts of agriculture and commerce, almost 
every desirable thing in life might be produced and made plentiful here, 
and thereby establish a rich, populous, and delightful region; as this 
soil and climate appears to be of a nature favourable for the production 
of almost all the fruits of the earth, as Corn, Rice, Indigo, Sugar-cane, 
Flax, Cotton, Silk, Cochineal, and all the varieties of esculent vegetables ; 
and I suppose no part of the earth affords such endless range and 
exuberant pasture for cattle, deer, sheep, &c. the waters every where, 
even in the holes in the earth abound with varieties of excellent fish; 
and the forests and native meadows with wild game, as bear, deer, 
turkeys, quail, and in the winter season geese, ducks and other fowl; 
and lying contiguous to one of the most beautiful navigable rivers in 
the world and not more than thirty miles from St. Mark's on the 
great bay of Mexico; is most conveniently situated for the West-India 
trade, and the commerce of all the world (pp. 234-35). 

This side of Bartram includes a study of the Indian not merely 
as an item in landscape but as a group of ethnological entities, 
having specific manners and customs and psychological reac- 
tions to the business of living. The contribution of Bartram in 
this field merits more detailed attention. 



Among the many literary productions on the American 
Indian, Bartram's work occupies a place of its own. He gath- 
ered his information at first hand; he traveled in parts of the 
country inhabited by Indians who, in his day, were still prac- 
tically untouched by civilization; he lived among them, studied 
their languages and customs, and learned to distinguish be- 
tween tribes and individuals. What is the value of Bartram's 
testimony, of his contribution to our knowledge of the Indians ? 

Benjamin Bissell, in his study of the American Indian as an 
object of literary idealization,^ refers to Bartram's Travels for 
illustration of his thesis. Intent on proving Professor Babbitt's 
doctrine that eighteenth-century romanticism, or Rousseauism, 
tended to confuse " the supernatural or super-rational with the 
natural," he cites Bartram's description of '" the Indian's " gov- 
ernment as an instance " where the naturalistic Utopia appears 
full-blown." ^ Admitting that Bartram's descriptions of the 
beauties of external nature '" have been much admired, and are 
of some importance, because of their influence upon Words- 
worth," he quotes long passages from the Travels to prove that 
'" Sentimental exoticism seems to reach its height in William 
Bartram." ^ He concludes his chapter on " Civilization as Seen 
by the Savage " with Bartram's " fanciful portrait of a noble 
savage ": 

I saw a young Indian in the nation, who when present, and behold- 
ing the scenes of mad intemperance and folly by the white men in the 
town, clapt his hand to his breast, and with a smile, looking aloft as 
if struck with astonishment, and wrapt in love and admiration to the 
Deity, as who should say, O though Great and Good Spirit, we are 
indeed sensible of thy benignity and favour to us red men. We did not 
know before they came amongst us that mankind could become so 

^ The American Indian in English Literature of the Eighteenth Century, Yale 
Studies in English, LXVIII, 1925. ''Ibid., p. 21. "" Ibid., 46-48. 



base, and fall so below the dignity of their nature. Defend us from 
their manners, laws and power.* 

The portrait is fanciful, to be sure, for Bartram could not 
definitely have known what the young Indian was thinking. 
And yet the meaning the passage conveys is not fanciful at all. 
Bartram had lived long enough among the Indians to know that 
a large element among the tribes looked with extreme displeas- 
ure upon the introduction by the white traders of what Colonel 
William Byrd, more than half a century before Bartram, had 
called "' Kill Devil " rum,° and while this particular Indian may 
not at the moment have thought of the " mad intemperance " 
of the white man, the spirit of '" the portrait " is nevertheless 

The fundamental error that Dr. Bissell falls into in his dis- 
cussion of Bartram' s contribution to our knowledge of the 
American Indian lies in his failure to distinguish between Bar- 
tram's manner and his matter. Bartram does reflect certain 
tendencies that Professor Babbitt would call Rousseauistic ; he 
was a romantic naturalist; sentimental exoticism is to be found 
in his writings; but he could also serve as a capital illustration 
of the late Professor Greenlaw's statement " that classic and 
romantic traits are inextricably mingled not only in the litera- 
ture of the [eighteenth] century as a whole but in the work of 
individual writers." ® Bartram' s exuberant style, his enthusiasm 
for nature and primitive simplicity, may have led him to as- 
cribe to his Indians " fanciful " soliloquies, but these " roman- 
tic " tendencies do not invalidate the facts he presents of the 
lives of the Indian tribes he came in contact with; while in his 
conclusion and judgments, based on these facts, he observes a 
rational restraint thoroughly "' unromantic." 

The manner of Bartram may have led Dr. Bissell to look 
upon him merely as an example of " sentimental exoticism," 
but it has not prevented other commentators from attaching 

* Ibid., 11. The quotation is from the Travels, p. 492. 

° History of the Dividing Line, Publications of the North Carolina Historical 
Commission, 1929, p. 92. 

° Edwin Greenlaw, " Modern English Romanticism." Studies in Philology, 

XXII, -538. 


importance to Bartram's facts. As early as 1827 a reviewer of 
the Travels regretted that Bartram 

had not written with a greater degree of systematic precision, and with 
fewer pages of exclamatory admiration at the beauties and wonders 
of Nature . . . We hardly observe the real value of the numerous 
facts he has collected, until we become sufficiently acquainted with the 
book to skip the passages that may be fairly styled notes of admiration. 
However, his work has a great deal of interesting matter in it, and will 
always be referred to as conveying a good general idea of the countries 
tlirough which he passed.''^ 

A more modern scientific investigator, John R. Swanton, of the 
American Ethnological Society, considers the Travels " one of 
our best early works upon this section. The fascination of his 
style," he continues, " and the atmosphere of mystery which he 
threw about the earthworks of the region visited combined to 
give his ' Travels,' and the theory of the Mound Builders 
along with it, a wide circulation." * It is true that Swanton 
refutes Bartram's theory, but it is to be noted that he uses 
Bartram's own facts with which to refute it. Bartram believed 
that the aboriginal mounds he had observed were built by a 
separate race of Mound Builders who had preceded the Ameri- 
can Indians. This theory, according to Swanton, "' was accepted 
and defended for a century afterwards by the greater number 
of antiquarians who touched upon the problem, continuing, 
indeed, until the intensive work in the mound area undertaken 
by Cyrus Thomas in the eighties . . ." ^ That any ethnological 
theory propounded a century and a half ago should prove, in 
the light of modern scholarship, erroneous is not at all remark- 
able. That Bartram should supply part of the ammunition 
with which to demolish his own conjectures is remarkable only 
when one fails to distinguish between Bartram the cautious 
scientific exprorer, the meticulous amasser of facts, and Bar- 
tram the sentimental Quaker commentator, the eighteenth-cen- 
tury amateur philosopher. Swanton has an explanation of his 

'' The American Quarterly Review, II, 226. 

* '" The Interpretation of Aboriginal Mounds by Means of Creek Indian 
Customs." Report of Smithsonian Institution, 1927, p. 495. 
*lbid., 496. 


own of how it happened " That his [Bartram's] theory should 
continue to flourish while his more important facts contradic- 
tory of it were overlooked," ^° but it is not important here. 
What is important is the respect with which an eminent modern 
ethnologist views Bartram's facts. 

That to Swanton Bartram's descriptions are of more than 
"some importance, because of their influence upon Words- 
worth," is further proved by his references to the Travels in 
his Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi V alley ^^ and his 
Early History of the Creek Indians and their Neighbors}"^ In 
the latter work he invokes Bartram's authority no less than 
fifty-three times, often quoting whole pages from the Travels 
to substantiate his conclusions. A brief examination of repre- 
sentative references to Bartram in Swanton' s monograph can- 
not fail to indicate the extent and variety of Bartram's contri- 
bution to the study of the American Indian: 

Bartram tells us that in his time the language of the Chiaha was 
entirely different from that of Kasihta, which we know to have been 
Muskogee, and in his list of Creek towns he includes it among those 
speaking Stinkard. 

Wappoo, Wappo, Wapoo. . . . given by Bartram as the name of 
a tribe formerly living near South Carolina, which the Creeks had 
driven away. 

Bartram, who visited Florida in 1777-78, speaks of the Yamasee 
Nation as entirely destroyed as a distinct body, and he thus describes 
the site on St. Johns River of what he terms "' the last decisive battle ": 

That the town was considered important is shown by the Creek name 
which it bears, Talwa, lako, " Big Town," and from Bartram's state- 
ment that it was the leading White or Peace town. 

Bartram states that he crossed the Chattahoochee " at the point towns 
Chehaw and Usseta (Kasihta). These towns," he adds, "almost join 
each other, yet speak two languages, as radically different perhaps as 
the Muscogulge and Chinese." 

Almost all that is known of later Oconee history is contained in the 
following extract from Bartram: 

^Ubid., 495. 

^'^Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 43 (1911)- 

'^'Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 15 (1922). 


Bartram's narrative gives, not merely the history of the Oconee, but a 
good account also of the beginnings of the Seminole as distinct from 
the Creeks.i^ 

Bartram's contribution to the literature on the American 
Indian has generally been discussed in terms of his Travels. 
What he has to say of the Indians in that book constitutes the 
largest part of his contribution on the subject, but it is only a 
part. Another is a series of answers he wrote in 1789, before 
the publication of the Travels, to specific queries on Indians, 
presumably by his friend Dr. Benjamin S. Barton. The manu- 
script of these answers has had a complicated history. One 
version is contained in John Howard Payne's Commonplace 
Book, written in Bartram's handwriting and entitled "Answers 
to Queries about Indians by William Bartram." '^^ Another 
version was published by E. G. Squier in 1853.^^ The two ver- 
sions differ only in the sequence and arrangement of the ques- 
tions and answers; the material is essentially the same, except 
that the published version was evidently edited by Squier with 
the intent of securing greater unity and coherence. 

Squier in his Prefatory Note states that while he was writing 
a work on "Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi," the Bar- 
tram manuscript was placed in his hands. It had belonged to 
Dr. Samuel George Morton, of Philadelphia, who had received 
it from Mobile through the courtesy of " a gentleman whose 
name is forgotten, but who received it amongst the waste paper 
used as stowage, in a box of books, from some northern city." 
Squier believed that Dr. B. S. Barton, who " in his Memoir on 
the ' Origin of the American Nation,' p. 46, refers to a MS. by 
Bartram, on these subjects, in his possession," . . . was " the 
author of the inquiries submitted to Bartram, and the original 
proprietor of the MS. in question." ^® The American Ethnologi- 

^^Ibid., pp. 12, 23, 106-7, 129, 169, 180-81. 

^* Among the Bartram Papers in the Library of the Pennsylvania Historical 
Society, Philadelphia. 

^^ '" Observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians." By William Bartram. 
1789. With Prefatory and Supplementary Notes. By E. G. Squier. Transac- 
tions of the American Ethnological Society, Vol. Ill, Part I. New York. 1853. 

" Ibid., 4. 


cai Society, to whose attention Squier had brought the existence 
of this work, instructed him to obtain Dr. Morton's assent to 
its publication in the transactions of the Society. Squier him- 
self admitted to having obtained from this manuscript " several 
interesting facts," which he embodied in his Ancient Monu- 
ments of the Mississippi Valley and in his Aboriginal Monu- 
ments of the State of New York, both published by the Smith- 
sonian Institution. His opinion of Bartram's scientific value is 
high. " Bartram," he writes, " is chiefly remembered as a 
naturalist and his reputation has hitherto rested upon his labors 
as a botanist. It is conceded, however, that he was a close accu- 
rate, and conscientious observer in other departments; and the 
following pages may consequently be regarded ... as a valu- 
able contribution to our . . . stock of archaeological and eth- 
nological materials." " It is this work of Bartram's to which 
Swanton referred in his article on Bartram's theory of the 
mound builders." 

There is no material difference between these answers on the 
Creek and Cherokee Indians and the chapters devoted to the 
Indians in the Travels. In both Bartram is generally cautious 
in his statements and modest in his claims of exact knowledge. 
His letter to Barton, transmitting his answers to, presumably, 
the latter' s queries, is characteristic: 

Thus you have, 

My observations and conjectures on these matters, with all the 
truth and accuracy that my slender abilities will admit of, and without 
reserve. If they should not answer your wishes and expectations, I 
desire you will ascribe it to my misapprehension of the queries or lack 
of knowledge, etc., etc.^^ 

In the Travels, however, Bartram is much more discursive 
and subjective than in these answers, in which he was pinned 
down to specific questions and which he wrote at a time when 
his eyesight was failing him and he suJEf ered great pain.^° Hence 
the purely scientific value of his observations among the Indians 
is more apparent in the Answers than in the Travels, and yet 

" Ibid., 5. " Vide supra. " Op cit., p. 9. '" Ibid., p. 9- 


one is but an abridgement of the material contained in the 

It becomes necessary, then, in order to gain an accurate 
understanding of Bartram's contribution to our knowledge of 
the American Indian, to separate his subjective comments from 
his objective facts, the romanticist from the scholar, the rhap- 
sodist from the observer. This is not always easy, for in Bar- 
tram's case especially, the style is certainly inseparable from the 
man, but it is not impossible. In the following passage, for 
example, the subjective and objective elements are not hard to 

A man goes forth on his business or avocations, he calls in at another 
town, if he wants victuals, rest or social conversation, he confidently 
approaches the door of the first house he chooses, saying, " I am 
come; " the good man or woman replies, " You are; its well." Imme- 
diately victuals and drink are ready; he eats and drinks a little, then 
smokes Tobacco, and converses either of private matters, public talks 
or the news of the town. He rises and says, " I go ; " the other answers, 
"You go! " He then proceeds again, and steps in at the next habita- 
tion he likes, or repairs to the public square, where are people always 
conversing by day, or dancing all night, or to some more private assem- 
bly, as he likes ; he needs no one to introduce him, any more than the 
black-bird or thrush, when he repairs to the fruitful groves, to regale 
on their luxuries, and entertain the fond female with evening songs. ^ 

Eliminate the one word " good " and the pointed conclusions 
beginning, "' he needs no one to introduce him " — which betray 
Bartram's Quaker benignity and love for informality — and all 
that remains is a strictly objective report of Indian social be- 
havior. Again, in such a statement as this one: 

They have songs to accompany their dances, of different classes, as, 
martial, bacchanalian and amorous, which last I must confess, are 
extravagantly libidinous, and they have moral songs, which seem to be 
the most esteemed and practised, and answer the purpose of religious 
lectures. ^2 

'''^Travels, 491. 

'^^ Travels, 506. The Van Doren reprint (p. 396), following the London 
edition of 1794, gives this passage in an "' edited " form which makes for better 
English but does violence to Bartram's meaning. For a study of the different 
editions of the Travels, see N. B. Fagin, Modern Language Notes, May, 1931, 
pp. 288-91. 


it is easy to discount Bartram's puritanical judgments as to the 
morality or immorality of the songs and dances of the Indians, 
and still learn that the Indians composed songs to harmonize 
with their various classes of dances. 

There can be no question that the appeal which Bartram's 
Travels had for the Romantic poets was partly due to his Ro- 
mantic point of view. He viewed nature as the source of per- 
fection and he idealized primitive life. Yet he never falsified 
the facts of the primitive life he described. It is to be noted, 
that, unlike Dr. Bissell, Bartram never speaks of " the Indian " 
as one general entity, but is careful to distinguish between 
tribes and nations of Indians. The very title of his book speci- 
fies that he traveled through " the Cherokee Country, the exten- 
sive territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and 
the country of the Chactaws." The published version of his 
answers to specific questions is entitled, " Observations on the 
Creek and Cherokee Indians." He tells us that the marriage 
ceremonies of the Indians " difi^er greatly in the various nations 
and tribes ";^^ that the Muscogulges bury their deceased in 
the earth, whereas the Chactaws " pay their last duties and 
respect to the deceased in a very different manner "; ^* that the 
Chactaws are " not so neat in the trim of their heads, as the 
Muscogulges are, and they are remarkably slovenly and negli- 
gent in every part of their dress "; -^ that the Muscogulge lan- 
guage is " very agreeable to the ear, courteous, gentle and musi- 
cal; the letter R is not sounded in one word of their language 
. . . ," whereas the Cherokee language, " on the contrary, is 
very loud, somewhat rough and very sonorous, sounding the 
letter R frequently." ^^ 

A study of Bartram's work, such as is here indicated, reveals 
the truly scientific quality of his observation. Eliminate his 
eighteenth-century diction, both neo-classic and Romantic, and 
his philosophical deductions and digressions, and the residue 
is accurate information. The attitude with which he seeks his 
information is the same that actuates modern scholarship. He 
forms no a priori judgments. By way of illustration, it is inter- 

^^Ibid., 514. -*Ibid., 515-16. ^'Ibid., 517. ^^ Ibid., 519. 


esting to contrast him with his father in their respective atti- 
tudes toward the Indians. John Bartram had come to the con- 
clusion that " The most probable and only method to establish 
a lasting peace with the barbarous Indians is to bang them 
soundly, and to make them sensible that we are men whom 
they for many years despised as women." ^^ William Bartram 
tells us that he was " induced, while traveling, ... to associ- 
ate " with the Indians, that " I might judge for myself whether 
they were deserving of the severe censure, which prevailed 
against them among the white people." ^® 

If he finally became a special pleader for the Indian, it was 
not because he did not observe anything to condemn in their 
nature, manners or customs, but because he observed that they 
were unjustly treated. He relates an incident in which the 
Indians of Georgia were almost cheated out of more land than 
they had been obliged to cede to the whites when the surveyor's 
compass refused to point right and the Indian chiefs insisted 
that they knew better than the compass.^^ He relates another 
incident, of Indian depradations against white traders in East 
Florida. " It appeared," he adds, " upon a strict investigation 
of facts, that the affair had taken its rise from the licentious 
conduct of a few vagrant young hunters of the Siminole nation, 
who, imagining themselves to have been ill treated, in their 
dealings with the traders (which by the bye was likely enough 
to be true) took this violent method of doing themselves 
justice."^" He mentions a Mr. Galahan, a trader in the 
Cherokee country who was " esteemed and beloved by the 
Indians for his humanity, probity and equitable dealings with 
them, which," he adds, " to be just and candid I am obliged 
to observe (and blush for my countrymen at the recital) is 
somewhat of a prodigy, as it is a fact, I am afraid too true, that 
the white traders in their commerce with the Indians, give great 
and frequent occasions of complaint of their dishonesty and 
violence." ^^ He narrates a tragi-comic story of a trader who 
appealed to him for help against the Indians of his trading 
post. " It appeared," says Bartram, " that this son of Adonis, 

"' Middleton, "' John Bartram, Botanist," Scientific Monthly, XXI, 203. 
"^ Travels, xxxiii. ==" Ibid., 40. ^^ Ibid., 79. " Ibid., 353. 


had been detected in an amorous intrigue, with the wife of a 
young chief, the day after his arrival: the chief being out on 
a hunt, but arrived next day, who upon information of the 
affair, and the fact being confirmed, he with his friends and 
kindered resolved to exact legal satisfaction which in this case 
is cutting off both ears of the delinquent, close to the head." ^^ 
The vivid, intimate glimpses of Indian life contained in these 
stories of white and Indian relations do not diminish in value 
because they were apparently designed to support Bartram's 
general plea, expressed in his Introduction, for a humane gov- 
ernmental policy towards the Indians. Incidentally, his sugges- 
tion, it is to be noted, is in harmony with his attitude in support 
of impartial investigation and scientific truth. In modest but 
clear terms he points out that the best way of dealing with the 
Indians is not, as his father had advised, " to bang them 
stoutly," but to send 

men of ability and virtue, under the authority of government, as 
friendly visitors into their towns ; let these men be instructed to learn 
perfectly their languages, and by a liberal and friendly intimacy, become 
acquainted with their customs and usages, religious and civil; their 
system of legislation and police, as well as their most ancient and 
present traditions and history. These men thus enlightened and 
instructed would be qualified to judge equitably, and when returned 
to us, to make true and just reports, which might assist the legislature 
of the United States to form, and offer to them a judicious plan for 
their civilization and union with us.^^ 

Knowledge, then, he believed, is the first step towards justice. 

An indication of the breadth of Bartram's interest in the 
Indians may be gained from the topics he discussed. Besides 
the numerous observations, anecdotes, and generalizations relat- 
ing to Indians scattered throughout the Travels, he appended 
to that book, as Part IV, "An Account of the Persons, Manners, 
Customs, and Government of the Muscogulges or Creeks, Cher- 
okees, Chactaws, &c. Aborigines of the Continent of North 
America." Under this general heading he discusses in short 
chapters the Character, Customs and Persons of the American 
Aborigines; their Government and Civil Society; their Dress; 

*'lbid., 441AS. ^'Ibid., xxxiv. 


Feasts and Divertisements ; Property, Agriculture, Arts and 
Manufactures; their Marriage and Funeral Ceremonies; their 
Language and Manners. In his Observations he answers spe- 
cific questions on the origin and migrations of certain tribes, 
on Indian painting, religion, the condition of women, ancient 
mounds, diseases, food, fossil remains. 

His discussion of these subjects is always clear and definite. 
Vague terms and generalization he disliked. He criticized the 
historians who had said that the American aborigines had 
" every thing in common, and no private property; which," he 
complained, " are terms in my opinion too vague and general, 
when applied to these people." ^* He himself was given to 
philosophical generalizations and often yielded to the luscious- 
ness of diction ; possessed of keen aesthetic perceptions he could 
not help merging his Indians into the landscape of tropical 
luxuriance he was so fond of. Yet underneath his lucious 
paintings the amount of factual observation is both great and 
sound and his Indians, instead of remaining merely Noble 
Savages, remain ordinary Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, or 

The pioneer nature of his work can best be illustrated by 
comparing the writings of a few of his predecessors, their dog- 
matism and, especially, their credulity, with his conservatism 
and careful rejection of everything not absolutely verifiable or 
at least creditable. John Lawson did not hesitate to repeat the 
story of a cure effected by a conjuror who performed some 
hocus-pocus with a string of beads which " turned up as an ell 
would do, and without any motion of his they came all up 
(in a lump) under his Hand, and hung so for a considerable 
time, he never closing his Hand, and at length returned to their 
pristine Length and Shape." The performance and the cure, 
Lawson assured us, were " Matters of Fact " and he offered to 
" prove the truth thereof by several substantial Evidences, that 
are Men of Reputation, there being more than a dozen present 
when it was performed; most of whom are now alive." ^^ Cap- 

''nbid., 511. 

^^ The History of Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and Natural 
History of that Country: Together with the Present State thereof. And a 


tain Jonathan Carver did not hesitate to repeat a story told him 
by a French trader of an Indian who had adopted a rattle-snake 
and "' treated it as a Deity." One day in October the Indian 
set his snake at liberty, and instructed him "to be sure . . . 
and return ... in the month of May following." The snake 
kept his unvoiced promise. " The French gentleman," Carver 
concludes, " vouched for the truth of this story, and from the 
accounts I have often received of the docility of those creatures, 
I see no reason to doubt his veracity." ^^ It has been stated 
before that Carver's book is now regarded, in the words of 
Fairchild, "' not as an authentic personal narrative, but as a com- 
pilation from various sources." " yet this fact does not lessen its 
value for purposes of comparison with Bartram's work. If all 
his stories came out of other travelers' books — which is unlikely 
— his own book is still significant, if for no other reason than 
that it went into twenty-three editions and translations.^^ One 
other story, illustrative of Carver's material and his reaction to 
it, may prove instructive. He was told, he relates, that in July, 
1762, it rained an inky substance (which was later bottled and 
used as writing ink) on the city of Detroit, and " Soon after, 
the Indian wars . . . broke out in these parts." His apology 
for coupling these two events together is that " it is well known 
that innumerable well attested instances of extraordinary phe- 
nemena happening before extraordinary events have been 
recorded in almost every age by historians of veracity." ^^ 

It is a relief to turn from this naive type of traveler and 
" observer " to Bartram. "All that I can say," he writes in reply 
to a question as to whether government among the Indians was 
elective or hereditary, " from my own observation, will amount 
to little more than mere conjecture, . . . for, at best, it will be 
but the apprehensions or conjectures of a traveller from cursory 
and superficial views, perhaps aided and perhaps led astray by 

Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel' d thro' several Nations of Indians. Giving 
a particular Account of their Customs, Manners, &c. London, 1714. Reprint 
of copy in the North Carolina State Library at Raleigh. Charlotte, 1903, p. 129. 

**0/'. cit., pp. 44-45. 

*'' Op. cit., pp. 97-98. 

*^ Cambridge History of American Literature, I, 192. *' O/'. cit., 152. 



the accounts given him by traders or other white people, who 
have resided among them." *" His distrust of " conjecture " 
and " accounts " extended to the Indians as well as to the white 
traders. " The Cherokees themselves," he reports, " are as 
ignorant as we are, by what people or for what purpose these 
artificial hills were raised; they have various stories concerning 
them, the best of which amount to no more than mere conjec- 
ture, and leave us entirely in the dark . . ." ^^ Bartram, too, 
repeated accounts given him by others, but first he tried to verify 
them and carefully distinguished verified material from mere 
hearsay. He had heard it reported, he tells us, before he went 
among the Indians, that " when their parents through extreme 
old age, become decrepid and helpless," they are, " in com- 
passion for their miseries," sent to the other world, "' by a 
stroke of the tomahawk or bullet." Upon inquiry, he was 
assured by the traders " that they knew no instance of such bar- 
barism, but that there had been instances of the communities 
performing such a deed at the earnest request of the victim." *^ 
As proof of the traders' assurances he offers an instance of the 
reverential treatment of a blind old man that he himself had 

If the literature of travel is, in the last analysis, as Professor 
Lane Cooper suggests, "to be understood in its bearing upon 
imagination and poetic art," ^^ Bartram's contribution to the 
literature of travel exerted its influence upon imagination and 
poetic art not only by virtue of its vivid narrative and its 
descriptive power, but by virtue of its careful notes on history, 
geography, and on a multitude of related sciences. In an age 
when poetic imagination among travelers ran faster than their 
observation, Bartram, whose imagination could travel as fast 
as anyone's, strove to copy nature as it is before he painted it 
in the glowing colors he loved to use. His Indians are first of 
all definite American Indians, having a habitation and a name, 
before they are noble children of nature. 

*" observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians, p. 22. 

^'^ Travels, 367. 

*^ Travels, 498-9. *^ Cambridge History of American Literature, I, 185. 





The landscape of Bartram is the luxuriant, indolent land- 
scape of the South. Had he described New England or Canada, 
it is doubtful whether his style would be so luscious and his 
book so fascinating. Bartram himself was fascinated by the 
semi-tropical scenery of the region he explored, and he 
endeavored to transmit to others the fascination he felt. His 
Travels is an account of his experiences and observations in 
North and South Carolina, Georgia, and East and West Florida. 
The Southland appealed to him. " Nothing will do for him 
now," complained his father to Peter Collinson, " but he will 
be a planter upon St. Johns river about 24 miles from Augustine 
& 6 from the fort of Picolata." ^ Dr. Fothergill could not 
prevail upon him to explore Canada for botanical specimens; 
Bartram insisted upon going South. His intense curiosity urged 
him on toward the strange and the unknown, and his aesthetic 
sensibility drew him towards the picturesque. Canada offered 
him more of the commonplace; there nature is not so rich, 
colorful, and varied in her productions as in a semi-tropical 
country. Many years after his return from his journey he wrote 
to a " Dear Couzn " that decrepitude of old age had not erased 
the impressions he had received during his residence in the 

Whether Bartram be considered one of the romantic ideal- 
izers of nature or a scientific observer with an imaginative pen, 
in either case the latitude of his landscape must be taken into 
account. " A tropical element," maintains Bissell, " is essential 
to the full realization of the Arcadian dream." ' What Bissell 
really means, is a " semi-tropical " element, since life in lati- 
tudes close to the Equator is hardly comfortable enough to con- 

^ Letter dated June the (date illegible), 1766, in the Bartram Papers, I. 
' Letter, dated 1788, in the Simon Gratz Collection, Penn. Hist. Society, 
Philadelphia. ' Op. cJt., p. 4. 



stitute the realization of an Arcadian dream. Even in the more 
temperate region which Bartram explored, he found that in the 
summer season '" the air at mid-day . . . was insufferably hot 
and sultry" {Travels, 35). Aldous Huxley may be too posi- 
tive in his assertion that a " voyage through the tropics would 
have cured " Wordsworth "' of his too easy and comfortable 
pantheism," * but he is right in emphasizing the relationship 
between climate and nature description. In Bartram' s case, this 
relationship is important enough for us to attempt to determine 
just where he traveled, under what circumstances, and what 
places he describes. 

The map which accompanies the Travels is of little use, since 
it covers but a small part of Bartram' s route, the eastern coast 
of Florida, from the St. Johns River down to Cape Canaveral. 
But throughout his narrative he is specific enough to enable us 
to work out his itinerary, with a few difficulties arising from 
changes, with the years, of names of places mentioned. The 
book is divided into four Parts, of which only the first three 
tell a connected story of his travels; Part IV is an account of 
the different tribes of Indians he met, has a separate title page, 
and is really a sort of appendix. The total time consumed by 
his travels was four years and nine months: he left Philadelphia 
" in April, 1773 " {Travels, p. 1), and returned to his father's 
house "on the banks of the river Schuylkill, within four miles 
of the city [Philadelphia], January 1778 " (p. 480). 

He sailed from Philadelphia by packet for Charleston, S. C. 
The first 150 miles, down the Delaware to Cape Henlopen, were 
a " pleasant run." Then he met with a sea storm, a phenom- 
enon he loved to describe. His boat got into Charleston on the 
eleventh day after it left Cape Henlopen. From Charleston he 
sailed by coasting vessel for Savannah, from which port he set 
off by horse on one of his numerous little exploration trips. He 
went south to " the rising city of Sunbury " and to Fort Barring- 
ton on the " Alatamaha " River, passing, he tells us, through a 
level country, well watered by large streams . . . coursing from 
extensive swamps and marshes . . ." (p. 10) . Next he went 
to "Darian," and on the way stopped at the plantation of a 

*" Wordsworth in the Tropics." Life and Letters, I, 354. 


" venerable grey headed Caledonian " named M'Intosh. Both 
Barrington and Darien are today in Mcintosh County, Georgia. 
His next destination was St. Mary's. To get there he had to 
cross " an uninhabited wilderness " o£ " high pine forests " and 
" dark and grassy savannas " (p. 17) . From there he returned 
to Mr. M'Intosh's plantation, where young John M'Intosh 
joined him on the next excursion. They went, on horse-back, up 
to Savannah and thence, following the course of the Savannah 
River, to Augusta, where they arrived in time to attend a Con- 
gress of Indians and whites, called for the purpose of ratifying 
a treaty. When, as a result of this treaty, a party of surveyors 
was sent to determine the boundaries of the new purchase, 
Bartram was invited by the Georgian leader to accompany them. 
He and M'Intosh, therefore, started out with the " caravan." 
On the evening of the second day they reached Wrightsborough, 
a Quaker village, about thirty miles west of Augusta (pp. 35- 
36) . Four days later, at Buffalo Lick, Bartram records his 
impression of " This extraordinary place " — a promontory and 
below a large cane swamp and meadows (p. 39). The party 
followed the Broad River to the Savannah and then disbanded. 
Bartram returned to Augusta and from there to Savannah, rich 
in experiences and happy in his " very extensive collection of 
new discoveries of natural productions " (p. 47) . The '" remain- 
ing part of this season " he spent " in botanical excursions to 
the low countries, between Carolina and East Florida " (p. 48) . 
He ascended the Altamaha in a cypress canoe, and reported his 
delight in the groves, meadows, forests, domestic herds, " the 
wary sharp-sighted crane," the wood-pelican, and the numerous 
other objects of nature that he saw on this trip. 

Part II covers his travels in Florida. He left Savannah in 
March, 1774, having spent eleven months in Georgia, with a 
short stop in South Carolina. He sailed from Frederica, St. 
Simon Island, Georgia. Near Cumberland Island the captain 
of his boat, having been informed that the Indians in Florida 
were on the war-path, decided to turn back, but Bartram was 
determined to proceed, and he was accordingly put ashore on 
" Little St. Simon's," not far from Amelia Island, Florida (p. 
64). His introductions procuring him assistance he next " set 


sail in a handsome pleasure-boat, manned with four stout negro 
slaves, to row in case of necessity " (p. 70) . In three days he 
was at Cow- ford, " a public ferry over St. Johns," where he 
bought " a neat little sailboat " for three guineas, and the next 
morning he sailed up the river (pp. 72-73). Here he admired 
the groves of live oaks, palms, laurel (magnolia grandiflora) , 
and orange trees, but soon once more ran into a magnificent 
storm, with " furious " winds and " tremendous " thunder and 
lightning (p. 75). He skirted now the eastern and now the 
western ("or Indian ") shore of the river, all the time noting 
the landscape, the " plunging alligators," and the incredible 
numbers of ephemera, small flying insects, " beautiful and deli- 
cately formed little creatures." He passed Fort Picolata and 
Charlotia, and arrived at the trading post where he stored his 
chest of specimens and other objects. With this trading-post as 
his headquarters he boldly set out to explore the Indian country 
round about. In the middle of May he followed, in his little 
vessel, a group of traders to Mount Royal, where the St. Johns 
River widens into Lake George, and where his boat " at once 
diminished to a nut-shell, on the swelling seas, and . . . must 
appear to the surprised observer, as some acquatic animal " (pp. 
101-102). At the next trading-post, up the river, he spent 
several weeks, then, securing the services of an Indian, he 
started out again, but the Indian soon became tired of rowing 
and Bartram had to put him ashore. He sailed on alone, observ- 
ing trees, promontories, and lagoons, and listening to the roar 
of crocodiles with whom he engaged in a thrilling battle. He 
turned into a '" little river " and into Long Lake, finally arriving 
at a friend's plantation in New Smyrna, on the Musquito River. 
Here he saw "' a vast fountain ... of hot mineral water, . . . 
perfectly diaphonous " (p. 145). He then returned to his first 
trading-post headquarters. From this post he accompanied a 
trading company to the Seminole Indian town of Cuscowilla, 
capital of the Alachua tribe, in north-central Florida. Exploring 
the region, he came upon " the Great Sink," where crocodiles 
were " so abundant, that, if permitted by them, [he] could walk 
over any part of the bason . . . upon their heads, which slowly 
float and turn about like knotty chuncks or logs of wood " 


(p. 205) . His next trip took him beyond the Alachua savanna 
to '" Talahasochte," thirty miles north of St. Marks. When he 
returned to the trading-post on the St. Johns he again set off 
" searching the shores " and was rewarded for his " assiduity 
in the society of beauties in the blooming realms of Florida " 
(p. 253). Finally he returned to Sunbury, Georgia, and from 
there to Charleston, where he planned his future travels. 

In Part III Bartram narrates his travels in the Cherokee terri- 
tories and the Chactaw country. On April 22, 1776, now three 
years after he left Philadelphia, he struck out for " the Cherokee 
nation." He made twenty-five miles the first day, arriving at 
" Jacksonburg " (Jacksonboro) . He again went into Georgia, 
visited Savannah and Augusta, passed through Fort James Dart- 
mouth, Wrightsborough, then followed the Savannah which, 
above the " Tugilo," was called Keowe. Here he observed " the 
flaming Azalea . . . illuminate the hill-sides " (p. 328) , abund- 
ance of grape vines, and, finally, the Cherokee town of 
Sinika, on the South Carolina shore. He visited the " Occonne 
[Oconee] valley " and proceeded to the Cherokee mountains 
where he named a high peak Mount Magnolia, "" from a new 
and beautiful species of that celebrated family of trees, which 
here . . . grows in a high degree of perfection " (p. 339) . From 
Keowe (or Cowe) , the Cherokee capital, he struck out, against 
the advice of the traders, for the dangerous Overhill towns, 
but after a short journey convinced himself that it would be 
wise to turn back. Once more he returned to Georgia, this time 
following a western route beyond the Flint River, " an arm of 
the great Chata Uche," where he was impressed with the exten- 
sive cane swamps and meadows, and where burning flies tor- 
mented the horses of the party of traders he had joined. He 
crossed into West Florida, then into Alabama, and followed 
the Tallapoosa and Alabama rivers, as far as " Taensa " 
(Tensas) , where he took a boat for Mobile. He found the city, 
on July 31, 1776^ "very hot and sultry," but stayed on till 
August 5th, when he returned to Taensa, where he contracted 

'The first edition (Phila., 1791), p. 404, prints the year as '* 1778," which 
is obviously a misprint, as Bartram returned to his Philadelphia home in January, 
1778 (p. 480). All subsequent editions repeat the misprint. 


a fever. Before he was fully recovered he sailed from Mobile 
for Pensacola, Capital of Western Florida, where he was hos- 
pitably received by the governor. He returned to Mobile and 
found himself very ill. Yet the very next day he sailed west 
for the Pearl River, where he remained seriously ill for a con- 
siderable time. As soon as he felt able to travel he moved on 
westward as far as the Mississippi, on the banks of which " he 
stood for a time as it were fascinated by the magnificence of the 
great sire of rivers " {Travels, p.427) . He arrived at Manchack, 
Louisiana, and from there visited Baton Rouge and was especi- 
ally attracted by the numerous indigo, cotton, and rice planta- 
tions in the neighborhood. On August 27, 1777,^ he set off for 
Point Coupe [Pointe Coupee], "a flourishing French settle- 
ment on the Spanish shore of the Mississippi." On November 
13th, he sailed east again, twice ran aground, but managed to 
reach Mobile. On the 27th he left by boat for Taensa and from 
there by horse for Savannah. There he stopped long enough to 
revisit several districts in Georgia and the east borders of 
Florida. On one of these short side-trips he observed a flower- 
ing shrub " of the first order for beauty and fragrance of 
blossoms," which he named Franklinia Alatamaha, in honor of 
his father's friend Benjamin Franklin {Travels, p. 467). He 
returned to Charleston, thence to Cape Fear, North Carolina; 
Alexandria, Virginia; Georgetown, Maryland; Lancaster and 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

It will be observed from this itinerary that Bartram is quite 
specific in naming the places he visited, the conveyances by 
which he traveled, and under what circumstances he observed 
the phenomena and objects he describes. The detailed charac- 
ter of his account deserves special emphasis. In spite of the 
strongly imaginative nature of his descriptions he always re- 
mains the practical explorer. Purely imaginative writers — poets, 
novelists, literati — when they turn traveler, are eager to record 
their impressions of the important sights they have seen; they 
concentrate on the " literary " material their travels have un- 
earthed ; the little practical details escape them. Bartram, how- 

' The first edition prints the year as "1787," which is again an obvious 
misprint, this time not repeated by the later editions. 


ever, finds it important enough to specify the kind of wood his 
canoe was made of, the depth of a stream he had to wade or 
swim across, and, above all, the layout of his camping place 
and what food he was able to procure. 

To a practical explorer camping places are of great import- 
ance. After a day's weary traveling a resting site is a grave 
consideration. Upon it depend health and safety. Travelers 
of the type represented by Carver tell us that they had camped 
at a certain place only if some event of importance had occurred 
at that place. It is the event that is worthy of mention, not the 
camping place — unless it be a curious Indian town or an other- 
wise interesting locality. Often they will not bother to describe 
their camp even if something of importance did happen to them 
at that place. To cite a capital illustration, Carver, telling of a 
band of Indians who one night were about to plunder his canoe, 
indicates the place where this happened by the mere statement: 
"" About ten days after I had parted from the traders, I landed 
as I usually did every evening, and having pitched my tent, I 
ordered my men, ... to lay themselves down to sleep." ^ Such 
a vague "" landing " never occurs in Bartram. With him a camp 
site is first of all a matter for " reconnoitering," before he 
spreads his " skins and blanket by [his] cheerful fire, under the 
protecting shade of the hospitable Live-oak " (Travels, p. 50). 
It is a matter of finding " a convenient and safe harbour," 
preferably " in a little lagoon, under an elevated bank " (p. 81) , 
but if that be impossible, a " little cape of flat rocks " will do, 
especially if it afford " a comprehensive and varied scene ..." 
(p. 175). 

Bartram's camping places are part of his landscape, but they 
are also a practical necessity. A good site is one which feeds 
his aesthetic sensibility and at the same time affords shelter 
from the night and protection from attack. Sometimes he 
rejoices at finding just such a spot: 

I fixed my camp in an open plain, near the utmost projection of the 
promontory, under the shelter of a large Live Oak, which stood on the 
hiehest part of the ground and but a few yards from my boat. From 
this open, high situation, I had a free prospect of the river, which was 

'J. Carver, op. at., p. 51. 


a matter of no trivial consideration to me, having good reason to dread 
the subtle attacks of the alligators, who were crowding about my 
harbour (p. 117). 

At Other times ideal camping sites are not to be had and he is 
obliged to content himself with the next best he could j&nd: 

I had now swamps and marshes on both sides of me, and evening 
coming on apace, I began to look out for high land to encamp on, but 
the extensive marshes seemed to have no bounds; and it was almost 
dark when I found a tolerable suitable place, and at last was con- 
strained to take up with a narrow strip of high shelly bank, on the 
West side (pp. 133-135). 

In fact, a good camping place sometimes determines the length 
of Bartram's stay at a given place. Thus when he finds 

a grassy knoll or eminence, under the cover of spreading Oaks, just by 
the grotto or sink of the lake, which lay as a sparkling gem on the 
flowery bosom of the ample savanna . . . 

he continues his stay " at this place for several days, ranging 
around the delightful country to a great distance" (p. 241). 
That the selection of a camping place was not determined by 
aesthetic considerations alone is clear. Several pages later in 
the same chapter he tells us that one evening he and his party 
" encamped as usual, near the banks o£ savannas and ponds, 
for the benefit of water and accommodation of pasture for our 
creatures " (p. 251). 

Of equal importance to the practical explorer, the experi- 
enced traveler, is the procuring of food. Natural scenery can 
be enjoyed only after the more substantial necessaries of physi- 
cal life have been obtained. Bartram is always specific about 
food, and there is a direct connection between his enumeration 
of what he ate, his description of how he often procured and 
prepared his food in the wilderness, and the appeal that his 
narrative has exerted. There is an undeniable Robinson Crusoe 
appeal in the record of a brave wanderer progressing through 
a hostile and primitive country on foot, horseback or in a canoe, 
defending himself with gun or club in hand against strange 
wild animals, shifting for food and shelter, and cheerfully 
undergoing many adventures for the sake of his beloved science. 


Yet Bartram's detailed discussion of food is in reality more 
than a Robinson Crusoe touch. It is in a point like this that he 
exemplifies the difference between the genuine explorer and 
the novelist or poet romanticising about the wilderness. Bar- 
tram is direct; he knows what part food plays in the life of the 
explorer. Along with the details of his camp site, he therefore 
sets down what he ate and under what circumstances. Thus he 
tells us that one afternoon, to escape a storm, he took " quiet 
possession " of an Indian hunting cabin and 

finding some dry wood under shelter of the old cabin, I struck up a 
fire, dryed my clothes, and comforted myself with a frugal repast of 
biscuit and dried beef, which was all the food my viaticum afforded 
me by this time, excepting a small piece of cheese which I had furnished 
myself with at Charleston and kept till this time (p. 344) . 

Another afternoon he ascended the bank of the river and found 

abundance of Peach and Fig trees, loaded with fruit, which affording 
a very acceptable dessert after the heats and toil of the day, and evening 
drawing on apace, I concluded to take up my quarters here for the 
night (p. 407). 

Bartram, plain Quaker that he was, may have had a touch of 
the epicurean, but here it is necessary to emphasize the absolute 
realism of his travel account. It was not epicureanism that 
made him enter into his journal the fact that he had but a small 
piece of cheese left for future provision ; it was the hard experi- 
ence of a traveler who has sometimes hungered and conse- 
quently can appreciate the value of any kind of food. A more 
purely romantic traveler, such as Chateaubriand, may, upon his 
first arrival at a place, observe '" mocking-birds and cardinal- 
birds flying about " ^ rather than pay attention to his " viati- 
cum," but Bartram spent five years in traveling, for the most 
part through a wilderness, and, besides observing the scenery, 
he learned enough about the realities of traveling to exclaim: 

How supremely blessed were our hours at this time ! plenty of delicious 
and healthful food, our stomachs keen . . . (Travels, 110-111) 

or to rejoice at his good fortune in " having taken three young 

• Travels in America and Italy, I, 95. 


racoons . . . , which are excellent meat " (p. 63). As a mat- 
ter of fact, though, even Chateaubriand finds it necessary to 
mention on occasion that "A fire was kindled to cook our 
supper " ^ or that he " made a sorry supper." ^° But he is gen- 
eral and vague; where Bartram is selective and vivid. One 
writes of travels, the other travels. 

Camping places and food, then, can not be overlooked in a 
consideration of the elements of Bartram' s landscape. They 
lend an atmosphere of reality to his descriptions which purely 
imaginative writers do not have. They provide a basis of truth 
for our appreciation of his more exalted descriptions. Starting 
with these practical objects, because of their immediate appeal 
to him, he is free to indulge his other interests, which were 
numerous and varied. Professor Lane Cooper's phrase about 
Bartram' s eye " that nothing escapes " ^^ is indeed justified 
almost literally. Animals and vegetation, men and manners, 
Indian mounds and birds' nests, the play of light or the raging 
of a storm, everything attracts his attention and leaves a 
sharp impression on his mind. It is possible, however, to reduce 
Bartram's interests to some classifiable order by saying that they 
comprehend three types: scientific, aesthetic, and philosophical. 
The landscape, therefore, that Bartram has depicted is the 
result of the observation of a scientist, poet, and philosopher, 
a combination which was unique in his day and which has kept 
his work alive into our own day. 

As a scientist Bartram speciali2ed in botany, although the 
term " natural science," which was most often applied to his 
profession, in Bartram's day covered a multitude of other scien- 
tific fields. It is true, nevertheless, that the " vegetable king- 
dom " came first among his interests and that his travels were 
undertaken for the purpose of discovering '" rare and useful 
productions of nature " chiefly in that kingdom {Travels, l) . 
That he did not narrowly confine himself to the main purpose, 
but loitered along, watching the stars, and alligators, and In- 
dians, and hundreds of other objects outside of the vegetable 
kingdom, was a loss to Dr. Fothergill, who paid for these trav- 

^Ibid., p. 114. 

^'^ Ibid., p. 119. '^^ Cambridge History of American Literature, I, 196. 


els, but a gain to all others to whom nature generally and rich- 
ness and variety of landscape especially are of interest. Yet he 
accomphshed his main purpose — and more. He shipped many 
cases of specimens to his London patron, and apparently over- 
looked very little, but the true vegetable kingdom of Bartram 
remains in the pages of his book. 

Bartram saw trees. Magnolias fascinated him, and the mag- 
nolia grandiflora is the j&rst tree he mentions, along with other 
species he has observed — " Magnolia glauca. Magnolia pryami- 
data " (p. 6) . Often he combines an aesthetic description with 
his scientific specifications: "The Laurel Magnolia ... are 
the most beautiful and tall that I have any where seen . . . 
Their usual height is about one hundred feet . . . The flowers 
are ... in the center of a coronet of dark green, shining, 
ovate pointed entire leaves: they are large, perfectly white, and 
expanded like a full blown Rose" (pp. 85-86). Another fa- 
vorite tree of his was the Gordonia lasianthus, which, again he 
either merely names among other trees or describes subjectively: 
" The tall, aspiring Gordonia lasianthus, which now stood in 
my view in all its splendour, is every way deserving of our 
admiration ... Its thick foliage, of a dark green colour, is 
flowered over with large milk-white fragrant blossoms ..." 
(p. 161 ). His discovery of a new tree is an occasion for sev- 
eral paragraphs. Thus he describes a tree which he had at first 
accepted to be a species of Gordonia but finally convinced him- 
self that it belonged to a "' new tribe," which he named Frank- 
lima Altamaha. " This very curious tree," he informs us, " was 
first taken notice of about ten or twelve years ago, at this place, 
when I attended my father on a botanical excursion; but, it 
being then late in the autumn, we could form no opinion to 
what class or tribe it belonged. We never saw it grow in any 
other place " (pp. 467-468). 

A complete list of all the trees Bartram describes would fill 
a fair-sized botanical dictionary. Naturally enough, he paid 
especial attention either to uncommon species of trees often 
seen in his home region or to tropical and semi-tropical trees. 
He tells us that the " Carica papaya, both male and female," 
at one time claimed his " whole attention," and that he thought 


it " the most beautiful of any vegetable production " he knew 
of; he believed that not even the " towering Laurel Magnolia, 
and exalted Palm . . . exceed it ... in elegance, delicacy, and 
gracefulness " (p. 131). He remarks that the cypress " stands 
in the first order of North American trees " (p. 90), and that 
on passing by a swamp he had observed a species of cypress 
which " differs little from the white Cedar of New- Jersey and 
Pennsylvania (Cypressus thyoides) " (p. 411). The halesta 
dipt era reminds him of " our common wild Mulberry " (p. 
410). The Nyssa coccinea, he thinks, should be seen in the 
autumn, " when their fruit is ripe, and the tree divested of 
its leaves; for then they look as red as scarlet, with their fruit," 
and he informs us that " The most northern settlement of this 
tree, yet known, is on the Great Ogeeche, where they are called 
Ogeeche limes " (p. 17) . The live oaks of the South appeal to 
him by their " astonishing magnitude." Once he reports that 
he had " stepped about fifty paces, on a straight line, from the 
trunk of one of these trees, to the extremity of the limbs " 
(pp. 84-85). He notes palm trees whose '" straight trunks are 
sixty, eighty or ninety feet high, with a beautiful taper of a 
bright ash colour, until within six or seven feet of the top, 
where it is a fine green colour, crowned with an orb of rich 
green plumed leaves " (p. 116). A species of Robinia attracts 
his attention because it displays " a singular pleasing wildness 
and freedom in its manner of growth " (p. 335) . 

Shrubs, flowers, and other plants are even more numerous 
than trees in Bartram's landscape, and again the emphasis is 
on tropical plants or on the uncommon species of semi-tropical 
and temperate plants. He observes '" a new and most beautiful 
species of Annona, having clusters of large white fragrant 
flowers " (p. 18) . He guesses that a certain " admirably beauti- 
ful and singular " evergreen shrub is a species of Cacalia (p. 
164) . He is impressed by the strength of the Cactus opuntia, 
which can support the weight of a man (p. 163). The Cana 
(sic) Indica presents to him " a glorious shew," the stem rising 
" six, seven and nine feet high, terminating upwards with spikes 
of scarlet flowers " (p. 426) . A species of Cleome attracts him 
by its " very strong scent, somewhat like Gum Assafetida," and 


he remarks that notwithstanding the " scent," the inhabitants 
give it a place in soups and sauces " (p. 425). The " prickly 
limbs " of the Erythryna corallodendrum " stride and wreathe 
about with singular freedom, and its spikes of crimson flowers 
have a fine effect amidst the delicate foliage" (p. 162). He 
notes that the " flame coloured flowers " of the Gerardea " give 
the plant a very splendid appearance, even at a great distance " 
(pp. 412-413). He describes several species of Hibiscus; one 
whose large and expanded flowers are " pale yellow and white, 
having a deep crimson eye " (p. 19) ; another which grows to 
the " size and figure of a beautiful little tree " and whose 
flowers are crimson (p. 104) ; still another which has flowers 
"of a fine damask rose colour" (p. 105); and still another 
whose flowers are " of a moderate size, and of a deep splendid 
yellow" (p. 104). A "very singular and beautiful shrub," 
presumably a species of Hydrangia, receives a long paragraph 
of minute description (p. 382) . So does a species of Ipomea, 
whose " beautiful flowers are of a perfect rose colour, elegantly 
besprinkled on the inside of their petals with crimson specks " 
(p. 377) . A " beautiful species of Lantana " is described by 
its colors and " most agreeable scent " (pp. 103-104) . A species 
of Aiaha is characterized by the adjective " charming " and by 
the color-scheme of its flowers (p. 327) . There is something 
of the curiosity-hunter in Bartram's description of the wild lime 
shrub, which has small flowers " of a greenish yellow colour, 
and sweet scented." This shrub, Bartram informs us, was 
named by his father " tallow-nut," because of its " large oval 
fruit " which " covers a nut . . . enclosing a white kernel some- 
what of the consistence and taste of the sweet Almond, but 
more oily and very much like hard tallow " (p. 115) . Similarly 
he describes a species of Myrica, a " beautiful evergreen shrub, 
which the French inhabitants [in the neighborhood of Mobile] 
call the Wax tree," because of its fruit, an " abundance of large 
round berries, nearly the size of bird cherries, which are covered 
with a scale or coat of white wax " (p. 405). He takes issue 
with the people of Louisiana who claim that the Humble plant 
(Mimosa pudica) is indigenous to their region; he has not seen 
it " growing wild in the forests and fields, and it differs in no 


respect from that which we protect in green houses and stoves " 
(p. 430) . The Mimosa sensitiva, he beheves, is "as admirable, 
and more charming than the celebrated Humble plant, equally 
chaste and fearful of the hasty touch of the surprised admirer " 
(p. 24). His reaction to color is dramatic. One morning, he 
narrates, he was " struck with surprise at the appearance of a 
blooming plant, gilded with the richest golden yellow." Upon 
examination it proved to be a new species of Oenothera, " per- 
haps the most pompous and brilliant herbaceous plant yet 
known to exist " (p. 406) . He notes the scandent fern, " a 
delicate plant, of a yellowish lively green," which " would be 
an ornament in a garden " (p. 478) ; the " flaming azalea " ; the 
" incarnate Robinia "; and the " snowy mantled Philadelphus " 
(p. 336). 

The trees, shrubs, and flowers which Bartram describes do not 
always appear in his landscape individual and isolated. The 
naturalist isolates his objects for scientific study and description. 
But Bartram is an amateur traveler as well as a naturalist, and 
his description has poetic connotations. His objects come to him 
merged with the landscape as unbroken impressions, before he 
proceeds to dismember them for scientific classification. Thus 
his trees, shrubs, and flowers often come to him in forests and 
groves and fields and meadows, and he describes them from the 
outside, as it were, before he approaches them and the forest 
is lost in the trees that stand out. He notes the high forests as 
he sails up the St. Johns and they present to him " a grand and 
sublime appearance, the earth rising gradually from the river 
Westward, by easy swelling ridges, behind one another, lifting 
the distant groves up into the skies " (p. 90) . The orange 
groves, which he sees everywhere in the lower South, hold a 
special interest for him; he mentions them again and again. 
Other fruit trees attract him: olive, almond, fig, peach, prune 
(p. 337) . He exclaims at the frequency with which he comes 
upon groves of dogwood. " During a progress of near seventy 
miles," he says, " there constantly presented to view on one 
hand or the other, spacious groves of this fine flowering tree, 
which must, in the spring season, when covered with blossoms, 
present a most pleasing scene" (p. 401). His impressions of 


forests are not without subjective coloring. At one time he is 
grateful for the shade afforded him by " incomparable forests " 
(p. 336) ; at another time he hears the " awful reverential har- 
mony " of " the high lonesome forests," a harmony " inexpressi- 
bly sublime, and not to be enjoyed any where, but in these 
native wild Indian regions " (p. 180) . The magnificence of 
" stately " pines pleases him all the more because he has just 
traversed " expansive wild plains " (p. 173). 

The '" plains " of Bartram are not, however, as barren as the 
last quotation might suggest. Even his " endless wastes " pro- 
duce " a few shrubby, crooked Pine trees " and " clumps of 
mean shrubs " (p. 242) , and even in the " most dreary, solitary 
desart waste " he had ever beheld, there is a thin scattering of 
grass and a few " Pines, Oaks, Olives and Sideroxilons " — 
though "poor, misshapen and tattered" (p. 218). Yet he is 
naturally more voluble when crossing fields, meadows, lawns, 
green savannas, even marshes and swamps. He notes shrubs, 
flowers, " herbage," vines, " plants," grasses; in one plain, " a 
vast profusion of herbage " (p. 180) ; in another, " the most 
extensive Cane-break (or Cane meadows) that is to be seen on 
the face of the whole world " (p. 233). He observes that " a 
new and beautiful species of Verbena . . . grows in old fields 
where there is a good soil " (p. 436) . He asks, rhetorically, the 
reader to observe "" these green meadows " which " seem enam- 
elled with the beds of flowers," which he then proceeds to 
enumerate (p. xviii) . He calls attention to " a very great 
curiosity," a new " and very elegant " species of Sarcinia grow- 
ing plentifully in the level, wet savannas near Pensacola (p. 
417). In a planter's "spacious" garden, in Louisiana, he 
observes " many useful as well as curious exoticks, particularly 
the delicate Tube-rose. ... In one corner of the garden was a 
pond or marsh, round about which grew luxuriantly the Scotch 
grass . . ." (pp. 429-430). 

It is true, nevertheless, that mountains and promontories stir 
Bartram more profoundly than the most luxuriant fields. They 
afl^ord him a panoramic view of the countryside, widen his hori- 
zon, and appeal to his sense of the majestic. Standing upon an 
elevated peak in the Jore mountains, he beholds " with rapture 


and astonishment, a sublimely awful scene of power and mag- 
nificence, a world of mountains piled upon mountains " (p. 
362) . Often as he travels his eyes seek the " alternate, bold 
promontories and misty points advancing and retiring, at length, 
as it were, insensibly vanishing from sight, like the two points 
of a crescent, softly touching the horizon" (pp. 233-234). 
However, like the trees in his landscape, his promontories sel- 
dom appear isolated. They are described along with the forests 
that grow upon them, the animals that inhabit them, and the 
streams that cascade down them. As he sails the Altamaha he 
notices " the winding banks of the river and the high projecting 
promontories," and he hears the " deep forests and distant 
hills re-echo the chearing social lowings of domestic herds " 
(p. 49) . Ascending the St. Johns River he observes the high 
hills, or bluffs, on its banks and offers a conjecture as to their 
probable origin (p. 165). The cliffs of the Natchez " present 
to view stratas of clay, marie and chalk, of all colours, as brown, 
red, yellow, white, blue and purple " (p. 435). Mention must 
also be made of Bartram's descriptions of Indian mounds, which 
are an important part of his landscape. Besides devoting the 
final chapter of his Travels to a study of these antiquities, he 
notes them in passing wherever he comes upon them. 

So far the elements of Bartram's landscape which have been 
discussed have all been connected with land. Bartram is equally 
observant of anything connected with water. Bodies of water — 
the ocean, numerous rivers, lakes, creeks, lagoons, pools, foun- 
tains, springs, geysers — flow and shimmer through his descrip- 
tions. The Atlantic Ocean receives an ecstatic paragraph in the 
first chapter of his book. It is " sublime, awful, and majestic." 
It exhibits a " tremendous scene " when stormy; it is " sublime " 
when it has again " become calm and pacific " ; it is " luminous " 
at night, " when all the waters seem transmuted into liquid 
silver " (pp. 2-3). An immense number of rivers figure in his 
narrative, beginning with those close to his home, the Schuyl- 
kill, the Delaware, the Susquehanna, and continuing with the 
more southern and western rivers: the Clarendon, the Haw, 
Little, Tugilo, Musquito, Chata Uche (or Apalachucla) , Talla- 
poosa, Alabama, Taensapaoa, Amite, Cooper, Oakmulge, Ocone, 


Tombigbee, Perdido, Mobile, Flint, Meherren, St. Johns, St. 
Mary, Little St. Juan, Savannah, Altamaha, Broad, Pearl, Missis- 
sippi. We have noted the effect upon him of his first glimpse of 
the Mississippi, an effect very similar to Keat's image of the 
effect upon " Stout Cortes " of a first glimpse of the Pacific. 
This effect, in Bartram's case, must be attributed to his sense 
of the majestic or, what he calls, the magnificent. Not only the 
depth and the width of the Mississippi astonish him, but also 
" the altitude, and theatrical ascents of its pensile banks." 
These things and " the steady course of the mighty flood, the 
trees, high forests, even every particular object, as well as 
societies, bear the stamp of superiority and excellence; all unite 
or combine in exhibiting a prospect of the grand sublime " 
(pp. 427-428). 

In other words, the effect is due to the entire ensemble of 
sense impressions. The Broad River " winds through a fertile 
vale, almost overshadowed on one side by a ridge of high hills, 
well timbered with Oak, Hiccory, Liriodendron, Magnolia acu- 
minata . . ." (p. 44). The Altamaha is beautiful because on its 
elevated shores there rise to view " yon Magnolian groves, from 
whose tops the surrounding expanse is perfumed, by clouds of 
incense blended with the exhaling balm of the Liquid-amber, 
and odours continually arising from circumambient aromatic 
groves of lUicium, Myrica, Laurus and Bignonia " (p. 48). 
Similarly, the entire ensemble of impressions is responsible if 
a river is not " beautiful " — and there are such in Bartram's 
descriptions, although even those are described with a sense of 
enjoyment. The Amite, for instance, has " scarcely a perceptible 
current; the water dark, turgid and stagnate, being from shore 
to shore covered with a scum or pellicle of a green and purplish 
cast ... in short, these dark loathsome waters . . . seem to be 
a strong extract or tincture of the leaves of the trees, herbs and 
reeds, arising from the shores, and which almost overspread 
them . . ." (pp. 425-426). It is his interest in such a river as 
the turi^id and stagnant Amite that makes his description of a 
" pellucid river " — the Little St. Juan — all the more impressive 
in beauty. " The waters," he writes, "" are the clearest and 
purest . . . transmitting distinctly the natural form and appear- 


ance of the objects moving in the transparent floods, or reposing 
on the silvery bed, with the finny inhabitants sporting in its 
gently flowing stream " (p. 224). 

Bartram's attention to lesser bodies of water is equally con- 
centrated and often detailed. Lake George is " a large and 
beautiful piece of water; it is a dilatation of the river St. Juan 
. . ." (p. 102). Lake Wakamaw " is the source of a fine river 
of that name . . . twenty six miles in circuit . . . bounded on the 
North- West coast by vast rich swamps, fit for the production 
of Rice . . ." (p. 473) . Battle Lagoon he remembers for the 
multitude of crocodiles that infest it; Carver's Creek adds a 
touch of intimacy to his description of the " ancient seat of 
Colonel William Bartram," his uncle, in North Carolina; Fall- 
ing Creek is memorable for its " unparalleled cascade . . . roll- 
ing and leaping off the rocks" (p. 341). The cataracts at 
Augusta are four or five feet in height, when the Savannah River 
is low. Midway between Augusta and Savannah is a Great 
Spring, an " amazing fountain of transparent cool water. . . . 
There are multitudes of fish in the fountain . . . continually 
ascending and descending through the rocky apertures " (p. 
461). The Great Sink in the Indian country is a large basin 
surrounded by a " group of rocky hills." The waters " descend 
by slow degrees, through rocky caverns, into the bowels of the 
earth, whence they are carried by secret subterraneous channels 
into other receptacles and basons" (p. 203). ^"^ Other "sinks 
and wells " are described; the surrounding strata of rock. Bar- 
tram finds, " admit water to weep through, trickling down, 
drop after drop, or chasing each other in winding little rills 
down to the bottom " (pp. 246-247). Then there is " the vast 
fountain of . . . hot mineral water " which " boils up with great 
force, forming immediately a vast circular bason, capacious 
enough for several shallops to ride in " (p. 145) . And, finally, 
there is the " inchanting and amazing crystal fountain, which 
incessantly threw up, from dark, rocky caverns below, tons of 
water every minute " (p. 165).^^ 

To complete the summary of bodies of water as an element 

^^ In connection with this quotation see Part III on Coleridge's indebtedness 
to Bartram. 


in Bartram's landscape, mention must also be made of his in- 
numerable references to " rills," " brooks," " ponds," " pools," 
and " streams." 

And here also it must be noted that Bartram's bodies of 
water are not isolated objects. They blend into the general 
landscape; they reflect the hills and forests on their banks; they 
are dotted with islands; they swarm with animal life; they are 
covered with vegetation. His description of the " very singular 
acquatic plant," the pistia stratwtes, which " associates in large 
communities, or floating islands, some of them a quarter of a 
mile in extent " (p. 88) , is one of the most memorable passages 
in the Travels. In a later chapter, he again notes " floating 
islands and green fields of the Pistia near the shores of the river 
and lagoons " (p. 132) . Another fine passage is his description 
of the Nymphaea Nelumbo, the " many acres " of it, " which 
at a distant view presents a very singular and diverting scene; 
a delusive green wavy plain ..." (p. 408). 

Bartram's plains and mountains and streams, important as 
they are in themselves as sources of aesthetic delight, are even 
more important as habitations of both plants and animals. 
Bartram's first interest was the "vegetable kingdom"; his 
second was the '" animal kingdom." We have seen that his 
plants are described in their native habitat, be that a marsh, 
mountain, meadow, or pond. The same observation applies to 
his description of animals. Wherever he went he noted every 
bird, beast, and insect that came within his view. Species hither- 
to unknown to him, naturally, interested him most, but he also 
welcomed any opportunity to enlarge his knowledge of the 
species he already knew. 

His description of the common wild animals is mostly exposi- 
tory. He tells us that the bears of the region he explored "" are 
a strong creature, and prey on the fruits of the country, and will 
likewise devour young calves, swine and sheep." But, he adds, 
he could never " learn a well attested instance of their attacking 
mankind " (p. 282). He tells us that " the wolves of Florida 
are laro^er than a dog, and are perfectly black, except the 
females, which have a white spot on the breast, but they are not 
so large as the wolves of Canada and Pennsylvania, which are 


o£ a yellowish brown colour " (p. 199). In a later chapter he 
says that he has been " credibly informed that the wolves here 
are frequently seen pied, black and white, and of other mixed 
colours. They assemble in companies in the night time, howl 
and bark altogether, especially in cold winter nights, which is 
terrifying to the wandering bewildered traveler " (p. 282) . But 
his picture of wolves is not confined entirely to hearsay. In a 
few places he narrates actual personal adventures with wolves 
(pp. 158-159; 199). His resort to hearsay is only a part of his 
scientific caution. He completes the information he has gathered 
by personal observation with an account of what he has heard, 
but he is careful to distinguish between the two sources. In the 
following description of foxes both personal observation and 
hearsay merge, yet it is easy to note which is which: 

The foxes of Carolina and Florida are of the smaller red species; 
they bark in the night round about plantations, but do not bark twice 
in the same place; they move precipitately and in a few minutes are 
heard on the opposite side of the plantation, or at a great distance: it 
is said that dogs are terrified at the noise, and cannot be persuaded or 
compelled to pursue them, they commit depredation on young pigs, 
lambs, poultry, & c. (pp. 282-283). 

The wild-cat or lynx, he tells us, is 

a fierce and bold little animal, preying on young pigs, fawns, turkies, 
& c. they are not half the size of a common cur dog, are generally of 
a greyish colour, and somewhat tabbied; their sides bordering on the 
belly is varied with yellowish brown spots, and almost black waved 
streaks, and brindled (p. 282). 

Bartram also mentions " tygers " as being numerous in the 
region he explored, which provoked Zimmermann's annotation 
and note: " Tieger giebt es eigentlich nirgends in America. Der 
Verfasser meint wohl den Jaguar oder Cuguar, Felis onca und 
F. .concolor Linn." " Zimmermann evidently ignored Bartram's 
own annotation, given in a footnote. " This creature," Bartram 
explains his use of the word tyger, " is called, in Pennsylvania 
and the northern States, Panther ; but in Carolina and the south- 
ern States, is called Tyger; they are very strong, much larger 

^' German translation of the Travels, p. 9. 


than any dog, of a yellowish brown, or clay colour, having a 
very long tail ; they are a mischievous animal, and prey on calves, 
young colts, &c."^* Bartram apparently records a regional 
usage, the authenticity of which is borne out a century later by 
Eggleston in his statement that " The panther was long called 
a ' tyger ' in the Carolinas, and a ' lyon ' elsewhere." ^^ Numer- 
ous other animals appear in Bartram's narrative: herds of deer 
and elk, many species of squirrel, racoons, opossums, rabbits, 
moles, gophers — " the great land tortoise " whose " castles and 
diurnal retreats " are " vast caves . . . from whence they issue 
forth in the night, in search of prey" (Travels, p. 18) — rats, 
mice, weasels, polecats, and bats. 

Insects constitute an important part of Bartram's landscape. 
Flies in '" incredible numbers " torment the horses of his party, 
" to such a degree, as to excite compassion even in the hearts 
of pack-horsemen " (p. 384) . They are " a flying host of perse- 
cuting spirits " (p. 385) . He is surprised at his failure to notice 
any bees in West Florida, for " they are so numerous all along 
the Eastern continent from Nova-Scotia to East Florida, even in 
the wild forests, as to be thought, by the generality of the 
inhabitants, aborigines of this continent" (p. 413). He de- 
scribes with delight the " incredible numbers " of butterflies, 
and revels in the rich colors of the different species (pp. xxvii- 
xxix). He observes swarms of grasshoppers, "the favourite 
delicious food " of rice birds (p. 297), and describes cochineal 
insects feeding on cacti. " The female ... is very large and 
fleshy, covered with a fine white silk or cottony web, which 
feels always moist or dewy, and seems designed by nature to 
protect them from the violent heat of the sun. The male is very 
small in comparison to the female, and but very few in number 
." (p. 163). However, the most impressive of Bartram's 
descriptions of insects is that of " the small flying insects, of 
the genus termed by naturalists Ephemera." Three pages are 
devoted to them, describing their birth, their ephemeral lives, 
and their death, and ending in a series of philosophical reflec- 

" Travels, p. A6. 

" Edward Eggleston, Century, XLVII, 849. This statement is also cited in 
the N.E.D. under the word " tiger." 


tions generated by Bartram's contemplation of them. He assures 
us that 

The importance of the existence of these beautiful and delicately 
formed little creatures, . . . whose frame and organization is equally 
wonderful, more delicate, and perhaps as complicated as that of the 
most perfect human being, is well worth a few moments contemplation ; 
I mean particularly when they appear in the fly state. And if we con- 
sider the very short period, of that stage of existence which we may 
reasonably suppose, to be the only space of their life that admits of 
pleasure and enjoyment, what a lesson doth it not alBford us of the 
vanity of our own pursuits (pp. 80-83) . 

The ephemera is born in water, but is only one speck of the 
multiplicity of life-forms in Bartram's streams. Besides such 
curiosities as " the manate or sea cow " (p. 231) , his waters are 
the habitation of many species of tortoise — " very large when 
full grown, from twenty to thirty and forty pounds weight, 
extremely fat and delicious, but if eaten to excess, are apt to 
purge people not accustomed to eat their meat " (p. 179) ; 
"... small, comparatively, and the back shell lightly raised 
. . ." (p. 281) ; — of otter — " common ... in West Florida, to- 
wards the mountains" (p. 281); — of water-snakes; and, of 
course, of all kinds of fish. To this incomplete list of amphib- 
ious animals must be added: frogs — in one place four pages 
enumerating and describing various species (pp. 276-280) ; — 
beavers — " abound most in the north of Georgia, and in West- 
Florida, near the mountains " (p. 281) ; — minks; and alligators. 

Bartram's alligators deserve special attention, if only because 
of the powerful impression they have produced upon both scien- 
tific and literary commentators. Soon after the appearance of 
the Travels in London, a reviewer, while admitting that Bar- 
tram was " throughout an amusing and intelligent observer," 
took exception to his " somewhat too luxuriant and poetical 
language ... in his extraordinary account of the crocodile, or 
alligator, as he indiscriminately terms that horrid animal." ^® 
The Anthologia Hibernica copied a page and a half from Bar- 
tram, heading the item " Crocodiles and their Nests. From 

^* The Monthly Review; or Literary Journal. Enlarged from January to April 
inclusive, 1793. London. 


Bartram's Travels, lately published," "' and The Wonderful 
Magazine carried a " Surprising Account of American Croco- 
diles," ^^ also copied from Bartram." The implied exception 
taken by The Monthly Review to Bartram's indiscriminate use 
of the terms " crocodile " and " alligator " indicates a careless 
reading of Bartram, who, in a footnote stated: " I have made 
use of the terms crocodile and alligator indiscriminately for this 
animal, alligator being the country name " (Travels, 90) . This 
footnote recalls Lawson's statement: " The allegator is the same 
as the Crocodile, and differs only in name." ^° 

Bartram devotes ten pages to the alligator. He introduces 
"' that horrid animal " at a dramatic moment, 

Behold him rushing forth from the flags and reeds. His enormous 
body swells. His plaited tail brandished high, floats upon the lake. 
The waters like a cataract descend from his opening jaws. Clouds of 
smoke issue from his dilated nostrils. The earth trembles with his 
thunder. When immediately from the opposite coast of the lagoon, 
emerges from the deep his rival champion. They suddenly dart upon 
each other. The boiling surface of the lake marks their rapid course, 
and a terrific conflict commences (p. 118). 

There follow first a vivid description of the conflict, then of 
Bartram's own battle with the alligators, of their " incredible 
loud and terrific " roar, which kept him awake at night, and 
finally of their nests. Scientists as well as literary reviewers have 
criticized Bartram's " luxuriant and poetical language." Clarke 
considered his account " written with such spirit and enthusiasm 
as to carry the author beyond the limits of simple and accurate 
statement." ^^ True called it " most evident hyperbole," "- and 

" Anthologia Htbernica, I, 259-260. 

'^^The Wonderful Magazine, IV (1793-1794), 358. 

^° For the last two pieces of information I am indebted to Prof. Lowes. See 
Road to Xanadu, p. 452. 

="' Op. cit., p. 74. 

'^ F. S. Clarke, "" The Habits and Embryology of the American Alligator," 
Journal of Morphology, V (1891), 181-214. 

" F. W. True, " The Fisheries and Fishery Industries of the United States," 
The Useful Aquatic Reptiles and Batrachians of the United States, Part 2, pp. 
137-162. Washington, 1884. 


Kellogg thought he detected " obvious embellishments." ^^ And 
it has remained for a scientist to prove that Bartram's account 
of the alligators, poetical as it may be, is neither fantastic nor 
hyperbolic. Dr. Francis Harper, in a recent article based on his 
own explorations in the region which Bartram had visited, 
comes to the conclusion that " The fidelity and accuracy of Bar- 
tram's account as a whole . . . are most impressive." Bartram's 
description of the roaring of the alligators is, in his opinion, 
" The only genuine, first-hand account by a naturalist," and 
Bartram's book generally is a " classic " which cannot be " over- 
looked by any zoologist." ^* 

While on the subject of " reptilians," one cannot overlook 
Bartram's lizards and snakes. His lizards, though they do not 
startle one as his alligators do, dart across his path and he stops 
to observe and describe them. He tells us that the largest 
specimen of the " little green chameleon " that he has ever seen 
" is seven inches in length," that he has seen striped lizards, 
" called scorpion," " blue bellied squomous lizards," " a large 
copper coloured lizard, and a very slender one of a fine blue 
colour" {Travels, p. 280). 

Snakes appear frequently in Bartram's narrative. They invade 
his camps; he stumbles upon them on the road; he goes out of 
his way to study them. He observes their color, studies their 
habits, philosophizes about them, and pleads for them against 
man's enmity. Once he was even served rattle-snake flesh for 
dinner; he tasted it, he admits, but he could not swallow it 
(p. 271). Curious species of snakes attract his attention. The 
glass snake is in " colour and texture . . . like bluish green glass, 
which, together with its fragility, almost persuades a stranger 
that they are (sic) in reality of that brittle substance " (p. 196) . 
The green snake is " a beautiful innocent creature," and so is 
the ribband snake (p. 275). The moccasin snake is a "' large 
and horrid serpent " (p. 272) . The pine or bull snake is " pied 
black and white " and utters " a terrible loud hissing noise, 
sounding very hollow and like distant thunder " (p. 276) . The 

^^ Remington Kellog, The Habits and Economic Importance of Alligators. 
Tech. Bull. No. 47, U. S. Dept. Agri., Dec, 1929, p. 10. 

"■"Alligators of the Okefinokee," Scientific Monthly, XXXI (1930), 51-67. 


vividness with which Bartram saw his snakes and the concen- 
trated clearness with which he described them is illustrated in 
such a passage as the following: 

The coach-whip snake is a beautiful creature; when full grown they 
are six and seven feet in length, and the largest part of their body not 
so thick as a cane or common stick; its head not larger than the end 
of a man's finger; their neck is very slender, and from the abdomen 
tapers away in the manner of a small switch or coach-whip; the top 
of the head and neck, for three or four inches, is as black and shining 
as a raven; the throat and belly as white as snow; and the upper side 
of their body of a chocolate colour, excepting the tail part, almost from 
the abdomen to the extremity, which is black . . . (p. 219). 

But it is necessary to look into Bartram's waters again. The 
principal inhabitants of these waters — the fishes — have not yet 
been noted. Bartram paid a great deal of attention to fish; in the 
first place, because to a traveler, fish is a means of subsistence; 
in the second place, because the fishes are a part of the " animal 
kingdom " he had chosen as his province of study. Early in his 
travels, as he sails by the islands on the coast of Georgia, he 
observes that 

The coasts, sounds, and inlets . . . abound with a variety of excellent 
fish, particularly Rock, Bass, Drum, Mullet, Sheepshead, Whiting, 
Grooper, Flounder, Sea-Trout (this last seems to be a species of Cod) , 
Skate, Skipjack, Stingray, the Shark, and great Black Stingray, are 
insatiable cannibals. The bays and lagoons are stored with oysters and 
varieties of other shell-fish, crabs, shrimp, &c. The clams, in particular 
are large, their meat white, tender and delicate (pp. 67-68). 

In the St. Johns River the fish is so numerous that he is anxious 
to avoid raising suspicion of his veracity. " Should I say," he 

that the river (in this place) from shore to shore, and perhaps near 
half a mile above and below me, appeared to be one solid bank of fish, 
of various kinds, pushing through this narrow pass of St. Juans into 
the lake, on their return down the river . . . (p. 123) ? 

He derives aesthetic delight from watching the " innumerable 
bands of fish " in the crystal basin near Lake George. Some are 

cloathed in the most brilliant colours; the voracious crocodile stretched 
along at full length, as the great trunk of a tree in size, the devouring 


garfish, inimical trout, and all the varieties of gilded painted bream, 
the barbed catfish, dreaded sting-ray, skate and flounder, spotted bass, 
sheeps head and ominous drum; all in their separate bands and com- 
munities, with free and unsuspicious intercourse performing their 
evolutions . . . (pp. 166-167). 

He notes with especial care individual species of fish. " The 
goldfish is about the size of the anchovy ... of a neat slender 
form ; the head is covered with a salade of an ultramarine blue, 
the back of a redish brown, the sides and belly of a flame, or 
of the colour of a fine red lead . . ." (p. 44). The " red-belly 
... is as large as a man's hand, nearly oval and thin, being 
compressed on each side; the tail is beautifully formed; the top 
of the head and back of an olive-green, besprinkled with russet 
specks; the sides of a sea grean, inclining to azure, insensibly 
blended with the olive above, and beneath lightens to a silvery 
white, or pearl colour, elegantly powdered with specks of the 
finest green, russet, and gold " (p. 12) . An even more colorful 
description is that of Bartram's favorite fish, the yellow bream, 
or sunfish. " What a most beautiful creature," he exclaims, 

is this fish . . . gliding to and fro, and figuring in the still clear waters, 
with his orient attendants and associates . . . the whole fish is of a 
pale gold or burnished brass colour, darker on the back and upper 
sides; the scales are . . . variably powdered with red, russet, silver, 
blue and green specks, so laid on the scales as to appear like real dust 
or opaque bodies, each apparent particle being so projected by light 
and shade, and the various attitudes of the fish, as to deceive the 
sight . . . the fins are of an Orange colour ; and . . . the ultimate angle 
of the branchiostega terminate (sic) by a little spatula, the extreme end 
of which represents a crescent of the finest ultramarine blue, encircled 
with silver, and velvet black, like the eye in the feathers of a peacock's 
train (pp. 153-154). 

The landscape of Bartram is composed not only of land and 
water, and the plants and animals that these contain, but also 
of the air and its animals. As has already been indicated else- 
where in this study, Bartram was an ornithologist of import- 
ance and his list of American birds, in Part II, Chapter X, of 
the Travels, is generally recognized as the " most complete and 
correct " before the publication of the American Ornithology 
by his pupil and friend, Alexander Wilson. In fact, he is con- 


sidered " the first [American] ornithologist of any reputation," -^ 
and his list, to be exact, contains 215 different species of birds.-^ 
Bartram was, of course, familiar with the work of previous 
observers of American birds, especially Catesby and Lawson. 
Jefferson's list of birds " he could not have known, for although 
the Travels was published some years after Jefferson's book, it 
was written some years before. 

It is not, however, with Bartram' s lists of birds that we are 
concerned but with his description of birds as an element of his 
landscape. Here we are more interested in his " curious bird, 
called by an Indian name (Ephouskyca) which signifies in our 
language the crying bird . . . about the size of a large domestic 
hen; all the body ... is of a dark led colour, every feather 
edged or tipped with white, which makes the bird appear 
speckled on a near view" {Travels, 147). We are interested 
in his detailed description of the wood pelican " a large bird, 
perhaps near three feet high when standing erect" (p. 149). 
That " admirable bird," the turkey buzzard, appears in his 
landscape, the painted vulture with its " white or cream " 
coloured plumage and its red crown (pp. 150-151). With Bar- 
tram we listen to " the cheering converse of the wild turkey- 
cock " (p. 83), and "Behold the loud, sonorous, watchful 
savanna cranes " as they sail " with musical clangor in detached 
squadrons " (p. 146). We watch the " curious and handsome 
Snake Bird, a species of cormorant," whose " head and neck . . . 
are extremely small and slender ... all the upper side, the 
abdomen and thighs, are as black and glossy as a raven's . . . 
the breast and upper part of the belly are covered with feathers 
of a cream colour, the tail is very long, of a deep black, and 
tipped with a silvery white, and when spread, represents an 
unfurled fan" (pp. 132-133). We note the fishing-hawk, a 

^^ The New International Encyclopedia, article on Ornithology, XVII, 588. 

^' See Biographical Sketch in American Philosophical Society Pamphlet v 1166. 
In connection with Bartram's list of birds in the Travels, see also his MS Diary 
for a record of bird migration, and the reprint of portions of this Diary, edited 
by Witmer Stone, under the title " Bird Migration Records of William Bartram," 
The Auk, XXX, 325-58. 

"'' Notes on the State of Virginia, 1784. The edition consulted is the third 
American, 1808; the list of birds appears on pp. 102-107. 


" princely bird," which " subsists entirely on fish which he takes 
himself, scorning to live and grow fat on the dear earned 
labours of another," and which in turn " contributes liberally 
to the support of the bald eagle " (p. 8) . We observe jays " of 
an azure blue colour," towee birds, " bluish grey butcher " birds 
(p. 172), "black pied" and "yellowish clay coloured" rice 
birds (p. 296), cedar birds feeding " on various sorts of succu- 
lent fruit and berries " (p. 298) . We distinguish the song of 
the blue " linet " from that of the nonpareil, which is " remark- 
ably low, soft, and warbling, exceedingly tender and soothing " 
(p. 299) , and we hear the cat-bird, whom Catesby, according 
to Bartram, has maligned by attributing to it but one note; for, 
says Bartram, this bird is "in reality . . . one of our most 
eminent songsters, little inferior to the philomela or mock-bird ; 
and in some remarkable instances, perhaps, exceeds them both, 
in particular as a buffoon or mimick " (p. 299). Finally, we 
watch a wild pigeon hunt in a swamp in which multitudes of 
the birds, blinded by the blaze of pine torches, " drop off the 
limbs to the ground " (pp. 470-471). One comes away from a 
reading of Bartram's description of birds with a feeling of the 
justness of a remark — far from inclusive — made by a recent 
student of Bartram. " William Bartram," says Henry Chester 
Tracy, " passed on to us an impression of Catesby' s ground- 
doves, in the South. He found them ' perfectly enchanting,' and 
so do we — listening through pages, faded by a hundred and 
fifty years." ^^ 

Bartram's landscape is not a static picture. There is move- 
ment and change. His narrative moves with his continued 
travels. Sometimes unusual things happen, an eclipse of the 
moon, for instance [Travels, p. 51) , or the eruption of a geyser, 
" an inexpressible rushing noise, like a mighty hurricane or 
thunder storm " and " floods rushing upwards many feet high " 
(p. 239) ; more often usual things happen which become un- 
usual through the vivid and dramatic description of Bartram: 
storms, for instance. A few typical examples will illustrate: 

'^^ American Naturists. New York, 1930, p. 25. The passage in Bartram to 
which Traq' refers is: " Catesby's ground doves are also here in abxindance: 
they are remarkably beautiful, about the size of a sparrow, and their soft and 
plaintive cooing perfectly enchanting" (Travels, p. 8). 


. . . instantly the lightning, as it were, opening a fiery chasm in the 
black cloud, darted with inconceivable rapidity on the trunk of a large 
pine tree, that stood thirty or forty yards from me, and set it in a blaze. 
The flame instantly ascended upwards of ten or twelve feet, and con- 
tinued flaming about fifteen minutes, when it was gradually extin- 
guished, by the deluges of rain that fell upon it (pp. 13-14). The 
mighty cloud now expands its sable wings, . . . and is driven 
irresistibly on by the tumultuous winds, spreading his livid wings 
around the gloomy concave, armed with terrors of thunder and fiery 
shafts of lightning. Now the lofty forests bend low beneath its fury, 
their limbs and wavy boughs are tossed about and catch hold of «ach 
other; the mountains tremble and seem to reel about, and the ancient 
hills to be shaken to their foundations: the furious storm sweeps along, 
smoaking through the vale and over the resounding hills; the face of 
the earth is obscured by the deluge descending from the firmament, and 
I am deafened by the din of the thunder (p. 343). 

These, then, are the elements of Bartram's landscape. Because 
they were new to him and because they contain an element of 
the picturesque, he emphasized the plants and animals peculiar 
to the South, but he did not exclude the plants and animals that 
are common to the other regions of the United States. His 
landscape is dotted with ornate and " exotic " plants, but he 
does not overlook " the useful vegetables." He often refers 
to " indigo, corn, potatoes," and to " other sorts of esculent 
plants " (p. 6). He observes fields of tobacco and gardens of 
cucumbers, lettuce, and berries. He notes a new species of gourd 
(p. 479) and a root of China briar from which the Indians 
make " a very agreeable, cooling sort of jelly " (p. 241). Nor 
does he overlook the common domestic animals. He sees herds 
of cattle and he stops to watch " a number of slaves, women, 
boys and girls . . . milking the cows " (p. 310). Indian horses 
attract him, and the Seminole horses, he thinks, " are the most 
beautiful and sprightly species of that noble creature, perhaps 
any where to be seen " (p. 215). He admires a black Florida 
dog trained to take care of his master's horses (p. 215). 

Nor is Bartram's landscape entirely without human life. 
There are of course days when nothing is to be seen but 
earth and sky, fields and swamps and woods and streams and 
mountains, trees and flowers, birds and bees, and Bartram him- 
self in the center of it all, toiling up a river in his canoe or 


mounted on his nag climbing up a wooded hilL But every- 
where, in time, he comes upon towns — and men, white and 
Indian. Charleston is in his landscape, and Savannah, Augusta, 
Sunbury, Fort Barrington, Wrightsborough, Buffalo Lick, 
Broughton Island, Frederica, Mount Royal, Cuscowilla, Tala- 
hasochte, St. Augustine, Mobile, Manchac, New Richmond, 
Point Coupe, and a hundred other big and little hamlets and 
trading posts with strange names, most of them long extinct 
and forgotten. And Bartram stopped to observe the most inter- 
esting of all animals, man, and his activities, just as he stopped 
to observe the other activities of nature and the remains of man's 
past activities — Indian ruins, mounds, burying grounds, tumuli. 



Throughout this study Bartram's " style" has received inci- 
dental mention. This has been inevitable because of the amount 
of attention it has attracted from both literary and scientific com- 
mentators. English reviewers noted his " luxuriant and poeti- 
cal " language; Carlyle enjoyed his " wondrous kind of flound- 
ering eloquence"; Zimmermann, in translating the Travels, 
corrected his " poetischen Floskeln";^ Squier insisted on re- 
taining " the antiquated and somewhat quaint phraseology and 
style of the author " ^ of the Observations; Miss Dondore was 
impressed by his " luxuriant detail "; ^ a modern American re- 
viewer has been pleased by his "lush descriptions";* and 
Tracy has found his language " rhetorical," not, however, with- 
out at the same time being aware of the prime virtue of Bar- 
tram's art, his " genuine sensitiveness " to all the aspects of 

It is this sensitiveness that nourishes Bartram's art and stamps 
his reactions to nature with originality. His style may derive 
partly from the conventional nature notations of his time, but 
his senses are acute and his sensations genuine. His love of 
nature transcends the occasionally stilted diction in which it is 
expressed and infuses his writings with an infectious enthusi- 
asm. Imperceptibly, what begins by sounding as bombast, soon 
establishes itself as native exuberance. Alexander Wilson ack- 
nowledged that he had caught this enthusiasm from Bartram, 
when he wrote: 

* Reisen, p. 50. 

* Op. cit.. Prefatory Note, p. 6. 

'Dorothy Anne Dondore, The Prairie and the Making of Middle America: 
Four Centuries of Description. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, p. 133. 

*" Notes of a Rapid Reader," The Saturday Review of Literature, April 21, 

" Op. cit., p. 38. 



I confess that I was always an enthusiast in my admiration of the 
rural scenery of nature; but since your example and encouragement 
have set me to attempt to imitate her productions, I see new beauties in 
every bird, plant, or flower I contemplate.® 

And we today must acknowledge that it is Bartram's enthusiasm, 
exuberance, or gusto which vitalizes his landscape and compels 
us to sense it as an immediate experience. The record of his 
sense impressions is not only genuine, accurate, and varied, but 
it is shot through with poetic coloring, which, while it never 
distorts, adds a touch of the glamorous to his descriptions. 

One form of the glamorous, imparted by his enthusiasm, is a 
frequent lapse into sheer rhapsody. As a consequence, his visual 
impressions, which are for the most part carefully and temper- 
ately expressed, occasionally become fervent and exclamatory. 
A sunrise inspires him to such a passage as the following: 

Behold how gracious and beneficent smiles the roseate morn! now 
the sun arises and fills the plains with light, his glories appear on the 
forests, encompassing the meadows, and gild the top of the terebinthine 
Pine and exalted Palms, now gently rustling by the pressure of the 
waking breezes: the music of the seraphic crane resounds in the skies, 
in separate squadrons they sail, encircling their precincts, slowly descend 
beating the dense air, and alight on the green dewy verge of the 
expansive lake; its surface yet smoaking with the grey ascending mists, 
which, condensed aloft in clouds of vapour, are born away by the morn- 
ing breezes and at last gradually vanish on the distant horizon (pp. 

A forest scene makes him exclaim: 

Behold yon promontory, projecting far into the great river, beyond 
the still lagoon, half a mile distance from me, what a magnificent grove 
arises, on its banks! how glorious the Palm! how majestically stands 
the Laurel, its head forming a perfect cone! its dark green foliage, 
seems silvered over with milkwhite flowers. They are so large, as to 
be distinctly visible at the distance of a mile or more (p. 85) . 

The rhapsodist is, of course, never entirely separated from the 
scientist, and frequently his style is a combination of botany 
and poetry: 

What sylvan scene is here! the pompous Magnolia, reigns sovereign 
* Ibid., p. 38. 


of the forests; how sweet the aromatic Illisium groves? how gaily 
flutters the radiated wings of the Magnoha auriculata? each branch 
supporting an expanded umbrella superbly crested with a silver plume, 
fragrant blossom, or crimson studded strobile and fruits! I recline on 
the verdant bank, and view the beauties of the groves, Aesculus pavia, 
Prunus memoralis, floribus racemosis, . . . (pp. 407-8) . 

Nor are his reactions to sound, on occasion, less ecstatic. This 
is his notation of evening sounds: 

How harmonius and soothing is this native sylvan music now at still 
evening ! inexpressibly tender are the responsive cooings of the innocent 
dove, in the fragrant Zanthoxilon groves, and the variable and tuneful 
warblings of the nonpareil ; with the more sprightly and elevated strains 
of the blue linnet and golden icterus; this is indeed harmony even 
amidst the incessant croaking of the frogs; the shades of silent night 
are made more chearful, with the shrill voice of the whip-poor-will and 
active mock-bird. ... (p. 154). 

And this of running water: 

How harmonious and sweetly murmur the purling rills and fleeting 
brooks, roving along the shadowy vales, passing through the dark, 
subterranean caverns, or dashing over steep rocky precipices, . . . 
(p. 322). 

But Bartram's descriptions of sound need special emphasis. They 
are set down with such skill that their impression upon the 
Romantic poets of his time is not surprising. They are varied 
enough to include the gentle cooing of doves and the violent 
roaring of tempests. He hears the lapping of the surf; " the 
heavy tread of some animal " at night, " the dry limbs of trees 
upon the ground" cracking "under his feet" (p. 158); the 
" social prattling coot " and " the squeeling water-hen " (p. 
159) ; the " languishing softness and melancholy air in the 
Indian convivial songs " (p. 245) ; "the whooping of owls, 
screaming of bitterns . . . the wood-rats running amongst the 
leaves " (p. 124) ; the " various languages, cries, and flutter- 
ing " of birds. He hears the different noises of frogs: that of 
" the largest frog known in Florida," which resembles " the 
grunting of a swine"; that of the bell frog, which "seems 
clamorous and disgusting "; that of the green frog, which " ex- 
actly resembles the barking of little dogs, or the yelping of 


puppies," that of "' a less green frog," whose notes are remark- 
ably like that of young chickens "; and that of the shad frog, 
from whose noise " at some distance one would be almost per- 
suaded that there were assemblies of men in serious debate " 
(pp. 276-78). And, of course, there is the noise of the alli- 
gators. He hears them " plunging and roaring " (p. 88) ; he 
hears "the horrid noise of their closing jaws" (p. 123), a 
'" surprising " noise, " like that which is made by forcing a 
heavy plank with violence upon the ground" (p. 129). It is 
not at all surprising to find that Coleridge copied into his Note 
Book the climax of Bartram's description of " the incredible 
loud and terrifying roar," which 

resembles very heavy distant thunder, not only shaking the air and 
waters, but causing the earth to tremble; and when hundreds and 
thousands are roaring at the same time, you can scarcely be persuaded, 
but that the whole globe is violently and dangerously agitated (p. 129). 

Bartram, as will soon be shown, saw nature principally as a 
painter, and his writings are consequently rich in visual descrip- 
tions. Yet his sensitiveness to sound — which has just been indi- 
cated — was only slightly less remarkable, and any extensive 
study of his art cannot ignore his notation of gustatory, tactile, 
and olfactory sensations. He notes the " aromatic flavour " and 
bitter taste of the palmetto royal tree (p. 72) ; the " sweet and 
agreeable " taste of the live oak acorn, from which " the 
Indians obtain ... a sweet oil, which they use in the cooking 
of hommony, rice, &c. . . " (p. 85 ) ; the " most disagreeable taste 
, . . brassy and vitriolic " of a hot spring (p. 145) ; the " gratify- 
ing " taste of oranges (p. 200) ; the " sweet and pleasant eating 
. . . like chestnuts " of the Nymphaea Nelumbo (p. 409) . To 
be sure, some of these taste descriptions are the observations of 
a scientist, exact statements of the properties of plants such as 
one finds in a botanical dictionary. Yet such adjectives as 
" agreeable," " gratifying," and " pleasant " are purely subjec- 
tive and add an emotional coloring to Bartram's scientific nota- 
tions. Tactile sensations are suggested by the '" silky hair " of 
a spider (p. xxix) ; the "" fine . . . downy pubescence " of a rho- 
dodendron (p. 336) ; the " hard . . . couch " on which he re- 
clined at night (p. 50) ; the " tepid " water of a spring (p. 


145) ; the " sandy beach, hard and firm by the beating surf " 
(p. 157); "humid rocks" and "smooth pebbles"; the sting 
of burning flies, " no less ocute than a prick from a red-hot 
needle, or a spark of fire on the skin " (p. 385). He records 
the smell of " sweet scented flowers " (p. xxviii) ; of vegetation 
" breathing fragrance every where " (p. 34) ; the breeze " per- 
fumed by the fragrant breath of the superb . . . White Lily " 
(p. 59) ; the " offensive smell " of a geyser (p. 145) ; " odorif- 
erous Illisium [Illicium?] groves " (p. 160) ; the " fragrant red 
strawberry" (p. 344). Sometimes he notes several sensations 
at the same time: thus the orange groves are " loaded with both 
green and ripe fruit and embellished with their fragrant bloom, 
gratifying the taste, the sight, and the smell at the same instant " 
(p. 200) , and " the pericarpium and berries [of the laurel mag- 
nolia] possess an agreeable spicy scent, and an aromatic bitter 
taste. The wood when seasoned is of straw colour, compact, 
and harder and firmer, than that of the Poplar . . ." (p. 86) . 
To Bartram's notations of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch 
reactions, must be added his perception of mass and motion. 
For Bartram's descriptions are seldom static. He is constantly 
on the move, hence the woods and fields and promontories are 
perceived as passing by. He speaks of the " alternate appear- 
ance and recess of the coast, whilst the far distant blue hills 
slowly retreat and disappear; or, as we approach the coast, the 
capes and promontories first strike our sight, emerging from the 
watery expanse, and like mighty giants, elevating their crests 
towards the skies . . ." (p. 3). He speaks of " squadrons " of 
birds and " nations " of birds and " tribes " of birds, of 
" flocks " of turkeys and " communities " of cranes, of " squad- 
rons " and " troops " and " parties " of horses, of " droves " of 
cattle, of " herds " of deer, of " bands " and " armies " of fish, 
of " companies " of traders and " companies of young innocent 
Cherokee virgins," of " masses " and " groups " of rocks, of 
"extensive" forests and "extensive" savannas. And these 
masses are usually dynamic, in motion: the birds are in flight, the 
horses frolick in the fields or are being driven to market, the 
cattle graze, the deer take fright and scamper away into the 
woods, the fish swim, the traders go to town, the Cherokee vir- 


gins pick strawberries, and even the rocks and the forests ap- 
proach or recede as Bartram travels from or toward them. His 
rivulets " glide in serpentine mazes," his creeks are " brisk- 
flowing " and his rivers run " with foaming rapidity." There is 
perpetual change and flux in his landscape. The flowers are in 
the very act of " painting the coves with a rich and cheerful 
scenery, continually unfolding new prospects as I traverse the 
shores; the towering mountains seem continually in motion as 
I pass along, pompously rising their superb crests towards the 
lofty skies, traversing the far distant horizon " (p. 346) . 

The rhapsodic element which Bartram' s record of his sense 
impressions often contains is mingled with an emotion deeper 
than mere aesthetic enthusiasm, a sensation of awe and sublim- 
ity. The vastness of the landscape evokes a feeling of grandeur, 
of magnitude, of majesty, so that the air of exuberance which 
pervades his descriptions is not merely a physical quality but is 
a more subtle and spiritual emotion. He discerns " few objects 
out at sea . . . but what are sublime, awful, and majestic . . ." 
(p. 2) . Standing on the shore he notes " how awfully great and 
sublime is the majestic scene ... ! " (p. 6l) . A forest of pine 
trees continuing for five or six miles is " sublime." A tempest 
exhibits " a very awful scene." In high, projecting promon- 
tories he sees '" grandeur and sublimity." He approaches a vale 
and observes that it is situated " amidst sublimely high forests " 
and " awful shades! " (p. 343) . He is struck " with a kind of 
awe, at beholding the stateliness of the trunk " of the Cupressus 
distkha tree (p. 96) . 

Bartram was no theorist in aesthetics, yet in regarding sub- 
limity as a vital element in landscape he shows his kinship with 
the aestheticians of his time. " The Sublime," Hussey tells us, 
had been noted by Shaftesbury as " the highest order of scenery," 
but it was Edmund Burke who was " the first to recognize it as 
a category co-ordinate with the Beautiful." '' Hussey could, of 
course, have gone back all the way to Longinus but it is true 
nevertheless that the eighteenth century sav/ the development 
of the idea of the Sublime as an element of beauty to a degree 
which previous centuries had not dreamed of. " Vastness," 

' Christopher Hussey, The Picturesque. London, 1927, p. 55. 


Hussey continues, " became one of the sublime qualities " in 
Burke's categories.* And vastness, it will be noted, is one of 
the qualities that strikes Bartram as " sublime," " awful," of 
" majestic." Thus he finds that an " ancient sublime forest . . . 
intersected with extensive avenues, vistas and green lawns, 
opening to extensive savannas and far distant Rice plantations, 
captivates " his " senses by scenes of magnificence and gran- 
deur " (Travels, p. 309). In fact, he is capable of losing him- 
self in vastness, to the neglect of his business as a scientific 
observer, which requires minute and close attention to specific 
objects. Once, he confesses, standing on the top of a mountain 
whence he enjoyed " a view inexpressibly magnificent and com- 
prehensive," he became " wholly engaged in the contemplation 
of this magnificent landscape, infinitely varied, and without 
bound," until he realized that he was " insensible or regardless 
of the charming objects more within . . . reach: a new species 
of. . ." (pp. 335-6). 

It has already been stated that aesthetically William Bartram 
saw nature with the eyes of a painter. It is important to note 
to what extent this is true and how this quality influenced his 
descriptions. He had an accurate eye for line and color; he 
copied nature: turtles, vines, flowers, birds. It was therefore 
logical enough that when he came to describe nature, using 
words instead of paints as his medium, the methods and habits 
of the painter should still persist. Always he sees his landscape 
with the painter's eye, and always he translates his visual im- 
pressions in terms of color, of lights and shades, using the con- 
centrated impressionism and the economy of means of an artist 
painting a canvas. Moreover, it is quite clear that he knew 
paintings, had observed them not only with pleasure, but with 
a retentive memory. Speaking of the Snake Birds which he saw 
in the waters of Florida, he remarks, " I think I have seen paint- 
ings of them on the Chinese screens and other India pictures " 
(p. 132) . Or, again, watching fish and crocodiles in a fountain, 
he comments: " This amazing and delightful scene, though real, 
appears at first but as a piece of excellent painting; there seems 
no medium." Besides the language of the painter in this 

'Ibid., ■p. 55. 


description, there is apparent his knowledge of perspective in 
the finishing touches of this scene: " You imagine the picture 
to be within a few inches of your eyes, and that you may with- 
out the least difficulty touch any one of the fish, or put your 
fingers upon the crocodile's eye, when it really is twenty or 
thirty feet under water " (p. 167) . 

Even more definite is his knowledge of painting and his use 
of painter's terms as disclosed by his writings on the Indians. 
An answer to one of the Queries about Indians contains the 
following remarks: 

Like Egyptian mystical hieroglyphics — extremely caricature & pictur- 
esque. No chiaro scuro, yet bold outlines, natural. Most beautiful 
painting on bodies.® 

A fuller answer to this or a similar query appears in the Observ- 
ations, in which, among other things, he says: 

I am sensible that these specimens of their paintings will, to us, 
who have made such incomparable progress and refinement in the arts 
and sciences, appear trifling and ludicrous. . . . Most beautiful painting 
now to be found among the Muscogulges is on the bodies of their 
ancient chiefs or micos, breast, trunk, arms, thighs. . . . Commonly 
the sun, moon, and planets occupy the breast ; zones or belts, or beautiful 
fanciful scrolls, wind round the trunk of the body, thighs, arms, and 
legs, dividing the body into many fields or tablets, which are orna- 
mented or filled up with innumerable figures, as representations of 
animals of the chase, — a sketch of a landscape. . . . These paintings 
are admirably well executed and seem like mezzotinto. . . .^° 

To these comments must be added a passage from the Travels: 

The pillars and walls of the houses of the square are decorated with 
various paintings and sculptures; which I suppose to be hieroglyphic, 
and as an historic legendary of political and sacerdotal affairs: but they 
are extremely picturesque or caricature, as men in variety of attitudes, 
some ludicrous enough, others having the head of some kind of animal, 
as those of a duck, turkey, bear, fox, wolf, buck, &c. and again those 
kind of creatures are represented having the human head. These designs 
were not ill executed; the outlines bold, free, and well proportioned 
g: ravels, 455). 

• Answer to Question 7 in John Howard Payne's Commonplace Book. 
^^ Transactions of the Am. Ethnological Society, III, Part I, 18-19. 


Seeing nature, then, as Bartram often did, from the point of 
view of a painter, his style has the Hnear and colorful flow of 
pictorial art. He has the ability to vivify a scene by means of 
a stroke here and a touch there. His descriptions abound in 
complete pictures — brilliant flashes, crisp miniatures, and, once 
in a while, a sprawling canvas: 

The little gold-fish instantly fled from every side, darting through the 
transparent waters like streams of lightning . . . (pp. 43-44) . 

The ultimate angle of the branchiostega [of the red-belly fish] ex- 
tends backwards with a long spatula, ending with a round, or oval 
particoloured spot, representing the eye in the long feathers of a pea- 
cock's train, verged round with a thin flame-coloured membrane, and 
appears like a brilliant ruby fixed on the side of the fish. . . . (p. 12). 

They [the Snake Birds] delight to sit in little peaceable communities, 
on the dry limbs of trees, hanging over the still waters, with their 
wings and tails expanded, I suppose to cool and air themselves, when 
at the same time they behold their images in the watery mirror: at such 
times, when we approach them, they drop off the limbs into the water 
as if dead, and for a minute or two are not to be seen; when on a 
sudden at a vast distance, their long slender head and neck only appear, 
and have very much the appearance of a snake, and no other part of 
them is to be seen when swimming in the water, except sometimes the 
tip end of their tail. In the heat of the day they are seen in great 
numbers, sailing very high in the air, over lakes and rivers (p. 133). 

The last passage is really a group of pictures, unmistakably 
of the type one is accustomed to call Japanese and Chinese, and 
those Bartram, by his own admission, saw " on the Chinese 
screens and other India pictures." An even more representative 
example of Bartram' s Chinese-screen pictorial ability is his 
description of the wood pelican. He devotes two paragraphs 
to this bird, and, among other things, paints this sketch: 

he stands alone on the topmost limb of tall dead Cypress trees, his neck 
contracted or drawn in upon his shoulders, and beak resting like a long 
scythe upon his breast: in this pensive posture and solitary situation, 
they look extremely grave, sorrowful and melancholy, as if in the deepest 
thought (p. 150).!^ 

But the vividness of his art is not confined to descriptions of 
^^ For the use that Wordsworth made of this passage see the next chapter. 


birds, fishes, or flowers. Phenomena of nature receive the same 
bold treatment. Little of the grandeur and power of the sub- 
tropical gales he observed fails to be translated, as in the follow- 
ing description: 

now the earth trembles under the peals of incessant distant thunder, 
the hurricane comes on roaring,^^ ^nd I am shocked again to life: I 
raise my head and rub open my eyes, painted with gleams and flashes 
of lightning; when just attempting to wake my aflBicted brethren and 
companions, almost overwhelmed with floods of rain, the dark cloud 
opens over my head, developing a vast river of the etherial fire ; ^^ j am 
instantly struck dumb, inactive and benumbed; ... (p. 386). 

A quality in Bartram's artistry which deserves special men- 
tion is his happy faculty of seizing upon the dominant trait of 
a particular scene or object and making it impressive and mem- 
orable. This descriptive method can best be designated by the 
French word "' raccourci." By means of it Bartram often reduces 
a long, diffuse passage into a single unforgettable sentence or 
phrase and even when he begins his description with secondary 
aspects he can sum up its dominant impression, its distinctive 
character, in a " raccourci." The selective quality which such a 
method involves is of the highest artistic order, as only essen- 
tials must be seized upon. The frequency and ease with which 
Bartram employs this method are ample proof that he was 
never at a loss to detect the essence of a scene. Thus after 
describing an old champion alligator and his attitude toward 
the other alligators in the lake, Bartram writes: " He acts his 
part like an Indian chief when rehearsing his feats of war " 
(p. 130). Again, he compresses a long paragraph describing 
the sun fish into this vivid phrase: " a warrior in a gilded coat 
of mail " (p. 154) . Or he finishes a description of the noise of 
frogs " uttered in chorus " with the striking comparison to " the 
rushing noise made by a vast quantity of gravel and pebbles 
together, at once precipitated from a height " (p. 278). 

The diction of Bartram presents an interesting problem. It is 
a peculiar mixture. At times it is simple and straightforward, 
at other times it is stilted and florid. In the same paragraph, 
even in the same sentence, it may vary from austere clearness to 

^' For the use which Coleridge made of the last phrase see next chapter. 


overlush vagueness, from bare exposition to imagistic rhapsody. 
So that both the commentators who, like Carlyle, have praised 
his style and those who, like Zimmermann, have condemned it 
can be said to have been justified according to their respective 
points of view; Carlyle liked Bartram's " eloquence," which he 
found in abundance, and Zimmermann, being a scientist, would 
have preferred Bartram's accurate observations without his 
rhapsodic overtones. The key to an understanding of Bartram's 
diction is, however, simple; it lies in a knowledge of his educa- 
tion, his reading, his Quaker upbringing, his scientific absorp- 
tion, and his own personality, for, if ever style adequately 
expressed the man, Bartram's style surely and completely 
expressed Bartram. It is this complete self-expression of an 
interesting personality, of a man who could be " by turns enthu- 
siastic, sober; dramatic. Idyllic; reflective, naive ; diffusive, firm; 
redundant, precise," ^^ and, above all, natural, to which the 
vitality of his writings is due. 

Bartram, as has been shown, was not highly educated. There 
is evidence that he attended the old college in Philadelphia and 
that for a time Charles Thomson was his tutor. The value of 
this education or whether he received any other is not known. 
It may reasonably be assumed that most of what real knowledge 
Bartram possessed came to him through his own efforts, picked 
up in a desultory way. At any rate, he never quite mastered 
the English language for literary purposes. His grammar is 
often shaky and his construction sometimes beyond his abilities, 
defects which account for the numerous minor " improve- 
ments " made in the London and subsequent editions of the 
Travels. And even in the editions where his English has been 
corrected such sentences as the following are still to be found: 

indeed the musquitoes alone would have been abundantly sufficient to 
keep any creature awake that possessed their perfect senses.^* 

his eyes red as burning coals, and his brandishing forked tongue of 
the colour of the hottest flame, continually menaces death and destruc- 
tion, yet never strikes unless sure of his mark.^^ 
the sooty sons of Afric forgetting their bondage, in chorus sung. . . .i« 

^^ Review of Ti^e Travels in The Nation, CXXVI (1928), 328. 

^^ Travels, Van Doren ed., p. 128. ''^ Ibid., p. 222. ^'' Ibid., p. 257. 


Nor was Bartram's reading without its influence on his liter- 
ary style. The poetic diction of his purple passages is the same 
as that commonly found in eighteenth-century English poetry. 
Echoes of Pope have already been noted; it is reasonable to 
suppose that Bartram read other eighteenth-century English 
poets and that they left their impress upon his mind. At any 
rate, his diction frequently is reminiscent of the worst of Thom- 
son, Gray, Collins, Akenside. It has what Professor Havens has 
called the " elegant pseudo-classic " note and the "' vicious 
' poetic diction ' which blighted English poetry for a century, 
worming its way into the work even of the best and most natural 
poets of the time, and giving to many excellent productions an 
affected and artificial tone." ^^ Bartram speaks of " cool eve's 
approach," of " feathered songsters," and " of leafy coverts " 
{Travels, pp. 81-2) ; of " solitary groves and peaceful shades " 
(p. 140) ; of resuming his " sylvan pilgrimage " (p. 153) ; of 
" the glorious sovereign of day, calling in his bright emana- 
tions " and leaving " in his absence . . . the milder government 
... of the silver queen of night, attended by millions of brilliant 
luminaries " (p. 190) ; of " winged emigrants " celebrating 
their nuptials (p. 287) ; of " those moral virtues which grace 
and ornament the most approved and admired characters in 
civil society" (p. 310). His tendency towards periphrases is 
obvious. Zimmermann, who was interested in Bartram's scien- 
tific facts and not his style, found this tendency irksome and in 
his translation trimmed down many passages to simple state- 
ments. " Schade," he wrote of Bartram, " das er mit alien 
diesen Vorziigen nicht auch einen guten Style verbinded. . . . 
Das Publikum wird mir daher hoffentlich Dank wissen, dass 
ich ihm in der Uebersetzung lesbarer zu machen gesucht, und 
von dem Ueberfliissigen vieles weggestrichen, oder es doch sehr 
zusammen gezogen habe." ^^ As an example of Zimmermann' s 
attempt to make Bartram " lesbarer," a comparison of the fol- 
lowing passage from the Travels with Zimmermann's transla- 
tion of it is instructive: 

^'' Raymond Dexter Havens, " The Poetic Diction of the English Classicists," 
Anniversary Papers by Colleagues and Pupils of George Lyman Kittredge. Bos- 
ton, 1913, pp. 437-38. 

*' E. A. W. Zimmermann, Reisen, pp. ix-x. 


The glorious sovereign of day, cloathed in light refulgent, rolling 
on his gilded chariot, speeds to revisit the western realms. Grey pen- 
sive eve now admonishes us of gloomy night's hasty approach: I am 
roused by care to seek a place of secure repose, ere darkness comes on 
(Travels, 50). 

It2t kam der Abend heran, und erinnerte mich, einen sicheren Ruheort 
2u suchen {Reisen, 53). 

Along with the echoes of eighteenth-century poetic diction 
Bartram's style carries a coloring of biblical expression. He was 
brought up in an atmosphere of simple piety and reverence for 
God, in a home where the Bible was read regularly and religi- 
ously. To the very end of his life John Bartram exhorted his 
children to " Love God & one another; extend charity to the 
necessitous and mercy to the distressed." ^^ William Bartram's 
writings echo these sentiments in almost identical terms. In his 
letter to his nephew, Dr. James Bartram, he urges him to " Fear 
and adore the Divinity " and to "be charitable ... to the poor 
and distressed." In his petition on Negro slavery he admonishes 
his fellow citizens to "do justice," to show "mercy" and to 
" fear God." And throughout his Travels he speaks of the 
" glorious display of the Almighty hand," " the most acceptable 
incense we offer to the Almighty," "... our God, who in due 
time will shine forth in brightness," " universal Father . . . with 
an eye of pity and compassion," " the wisdom and power of the 
supreme author of nature," " nature, at the command of the 
Supreme Creator," " thanksgiving to the Supreme Creator and 
preserver," " celestial endowments," " great altars and temples 
similar to the high places and sacred groves anciently amongst 
the Canaanites and other nations of Palestine and Judea." Some 
of his rhapsodic passages read like the spontaneous evocation 
of Quaker prayer, such, for instance, as the following: 

How glorious the powerful sun, minister of the Most High, in the 
rule and government of this earth, leaves our hemisphere, retiring from 
our sight beyond the western forests ! I behold with gratitude his depart- 
ing smiles, tinging the fleecy roseate clouds, now riding far away on the 
Eastern horizon; behold they vanish from sight in the azure skies 
{Travels, 158) ! 

^' MS. of eighteen pages in the Bartram Papers, in handwriting of John 
Bartram, but unsigned and undated. 


It is in Bartram's scientific diction that the greatest measure 
of his originality is to be found. Tracy's statement that "The 
nature men have not given us nev^ word-sets " but have only 
" used words in a new way " ^° is eminently true of Bartram. 
He has the faculty of welding together the most commonplace 
scientific nomenclature with the most gorgeous poetic imagery, 
so that ordinary vegetables and weeds and birds and snakes be- 
come glamorous objects of nature. Analyzed coldly this mixture 
of botany, ornithology, zoology, and poetry sometimes strikes 
one as somewhat ludicrous, even pathetic, as when he writes 
that " the vegetables smile in their blooming decorations and 
sparkling crystalline dew-drop " (Travels, 387), but read with- 
out any intent to dismember, Bartram's style soon begins to ex- 
ert an effect which is far from unpleasant. Scientific term and 
poetic image merge perfectly, support and mellow each other, 
and create a mode of expression characteristic of the author- 
naturalist. Other botanical observers may have catalogued the 
following trees in a forest: " Fraxinus, Ulmus, Acer rubrum, 
Laurus Borbonia, Quercus dentata, Ilex aquafolium, Olea Amer- 
icana, Morus, Gleditsia triacanthus, and ... a species of Sapin- 
dus," but it is only Bartram who could add that the last species 
mentioned " spreads his brawny arms " and that the Live Oaks 
" strive while young to be upon an equality with their neigh- 
bors . . . but the others at last prevail, and their proud heads 
are seen at a great distance . . ." (p. 84). The touch of imagi- 
nation changes a dull catalogue into a vivid reality. Sometimes 
the artistic transformation is accomplished by the phrase which 
introduces the catalogue, as when he states that " At this rural 
retirement were assembled a charming circle of mountain veg- 
etable beauties. Magnolia auriculata. Rhododendron ferrugi- 
nium, Kalmia latifolia, . . ." (p. 342). The effect of this style 
upon the non-scientific reader can perhaps best be studied in the 
following comment of a modern reviewer of his Travels: 

To a common reader like myself who am a lover of plants and flowers 
rather than a botanist, the recurring scientific nomenclature of the 
volume proves at first disconcerting, forbidding. I am shocked and 
chagrined to find how few of my familiar friends I am able to recognize 

'"' Henry Chester Traq^, op. ch., p. 8. 


in this guise. I stumble over such technical terms as " cor dated append- 
age " and " incarnate lobes " and wonder whether to continue. How- 
ever, I can and do appreciate " sportive vegetables " and am encouraged 
to go on. For there is much that I would see in this long-desired book. 

Others have enjoyed it in spite of the obtruding nomenclature and 
so shall I. There is, I find, less of the technical than at first appears ; or 
it may be that I become accustomed to it and learn that it does not 
matter. Names neither make nor mar the beauty of such a passage as. . . . 

. . . Did none of the volume's treasures escape the indefatigable 
Coleridge and Wordsworth.? I seek in vain for such an omission — 
unless it be the " splendid fields of golden Oenothera " which I recog- 
nize as my friend the primrose. ^^ 

That Bartram's style is a perfect expression of his personality 
has already been suggested. Nature to Bartram was not cold 
and impersonal, but an object of love and reverence. All its 
manifestations partook of the miraculous. Nature was a vast 
unknown region for him to explore, but he did not stop with 
the accumulation of impersonal knowledge. His imagination 
played upon what he observed and drew personal meanings ; it 
found beneath the surfaces a confirmation of the immanence of 
God and it delighted in the beauty of God's world. His exalta- 
tion carried him to rhapsodic exclamations and hyperbolic dic- 
tion, but it also animated nature-description and imparted to it 
an imaginative glow. He abounds in such subjective epithets as 
" beautiful," " hideous," " disagreeable," " pleasant," " excel- 
lent," and in such superlatives as " incredible," " prodigious," 
" amazing," " magnificent," " intolerable," " extraordinary," 
" unparalleled," " exceedingly," and " irresistibly." The effect 
he is thus able to transmit is precisely what the effect of his 
travels was upon himself. It makes a reader in 1928 exclaim 
that "To be young was heaven for a naturalist in eighteenth- 
century America " and that " This is what the New World was 
like to a loving spirit, thrilled by nature, and conscious of 
beauty." ^^ His " poetic diction," objectionable as it may be in 
the Classicist poets he read, is tolerable and at times not ineffec- 

*^ " Browsing through Bartram," by F. H. The Christian Science Monitor, 

May 2, 1929. 

"""Notes of a Rapid Reader," The Saturday Review of Literature, April 21, 




tuai in him, for it is not, in his case, " due to lack of imagina- 
tion " or " to a lack of close observation of nature." ^^ Bartram 
added both imagination and careful observation to nature 
description, and, above all, he is emotionally genuine and sin- 
cere. The fact is that while he was born and reared in the neo- 
classic period he came to maturity and did his writing in the 
period when Romantic tendencies were beginning to dominate. 
" Reason " and " rational " frequently appear in his pages, but 
also " imagination," " sublime," " sensibility." His very enthu- 
siasm, his unrestrained enjoyment of nature, is what has come 
to be termed Romantic. Even his periphrases are not always the 
objectionable neo-classic circumlocution, " vague, unnatural, and 
mechanical . . . attempts to be elegant and poetical in an arti- 
ficial way." ^* On the contrary, they are often imaginative and 
original attempts to convey an emotional response to the scene 
he describes. They are figurative evocations which transcribe 
not only the objects he saw but the mood which they engen- 
dered within him. Thus, to take a representative example, he 
translates his vision of the beating surf into a personification: 
" the dashing of yon liquid mountains, like mighty giants, in 
vain assail the skies; they are beaten back, and fall prostrate 
upon the shores of the trembling island " {Travels, 61). This 
is periphrastic description, to be sure, but it is founded upon accu- 
rate observation and effectively conveys the dramatic quality of 
the scene. Incidentally, the quotation at the same time indicates 
Bartram' s sense of prose rhythm and his use of onomatopaeia 
and even alliteration — stylistic devices that come naturally to 
one whose sight is clear and whose emotion is genuine and 

One other element in Bartram' s art needs consideration, his 
narrative ability. The dynamic nature of his description has al- 
ready been indicated, its movement and animation, but Bar- 
tram's gifts as a story-teller are largely responsible for this live- 
liness of his landscape. His Travels is primarily a narrative and 
Bartram never permits it to drag. His description is woven, in 
comparatively small increments, into the account of his move- 
ments and experiences. The very first three pages of his book 

^= R. D. Havens, op. cit., p. 440. " Ibid., p. 442. 


take us from Philadelphia to South Carolina, and the rest of his 
account bristles with incidents, strange encounters, dramatic epi- 
sodes, Indian legends, and complete short stories. His landscape 
ceases to be merely a colorful canvas spread before the eyes of 
a painter and becomes the background against which the heated 
spectacle of life is enacted. In spite of the apparent discursive- 
ness of his narrative, Bartram has a directness of communication 
which springs from an instinctive perception of the dramatic ele- 
ments of a situation. He selects his materials skilfully, knowing 
what to exclude, when to linger and when to move on. 

In the course of his travels into the Indian territory he met 
many planters and traders. Their life is depicted not by long 
descriptions and speculations, but by sketching these men as he 
came in contact with them. He does not give a complete list of 
all his experiences and observations, but singles out a few of 
the numerous white people he has met and recounts a few epi- 
sodes of their lives. Thus he tells us of the hospitality of the 
planters by recounting his reception at the plantation of Mr. 
Mcintosh, who greeted him with the words: " Welcome, stran- 
ger; come in, and rest; the air is now very sultry; it is a very 
hot day," and of Mr. Bailey, who treated him " very civilly " 
(pp. 13, 15) . Or he tells us of a friendly planter who housed 
him for three days while a storm raged outside, working " al- 
most irreparable damages " everywhere in the neighborhood 
(p. 143). The life of the white traders among the Indians is 
pictured in a number of short stories. One of these tells of an 
unhappy trader " who had for a companion a very handsome 
Siminole young woman " who " dishonestly distributes amongst 
her savage relations ... all his possessions," so that " he now 
endeavors to drown and forget his sorrows in deep draughts of 
brandy" (pp. 111-2). There is the incident of Mr. M'Latche 
who presumed to refuse credit to the proud Long Warrior, who 
thereupon threatened to command " the terrible thunder now 
rolling in the skies above, to descend upon your head, in rapid 
fiery shafts, and lay you prostrate at my feet" (pp. 258-59). 
And there is the story, already referred to, of the trader who 
had had an affair with the wife of an Indian chief and was 
threatened with having his ears cut off (pp. 447-8) . 


There are numerous incidents of encounters with Indians and 
in telHng of these Bartram is able to arouse and maintain a 
suspense which indicates no mean narrative skill. His first 
description of meeting with an Indian alone in the forest is an 
apt illustration of his instinctive mastery of the narrative tech- 
nique. Deftly he sketches in the setting: " It was drawing on 
towards the close of day, the skies serene and calm, the air 
temperately cool . . . the prospect around enchantingly varied 
and beautiful. . . ." Then comes the directness of his vision: 
"... on a sudden, an Indian appeared . . . armed with a rifle." 
Bartram' s reaction to this threatening apparition, his endeavor 
to elude the Indian's sight by stopping and " keeping large 
trees between " them, at once sets the stage for a looming con- 
flict. The antagonists take each other's measure, then the Indian 
" sat spurs to his horse, and came up on full gallop." The 
sentences that follow heighten the suspense, so that there is a 
genuine relief at the denouement, 

I never before this was afraid at the sight of an Indian, but at this time, 
I must own that my spirits were very much agitated: I saw at once, 
that being unarmed, I was in his power, and having now but a few 
moments to prepare, I resigned myself entirely to the will of the 
Almighty. . . . The intrepid Siminole stopped suddenly, three or four 
yards before me, and silently viewed me, his countenance angry and 
fierce, shifting his rifle from shoulder to shoulder and looking about 
instantly on all sides. I advanced towards him, and with an air of 
confidence offered him my hand, hailing him, brother; at this he 
hastily jerked back his arm, with a look of malice, rage, and disdain, 
seeming every way disconcerted ; ^^ when again looking at me more 
attentively, he instantly spurred up to me, and, with dignity in his 
look and action, gave me his hand. 

The tenseness and compression of this incident is not diminished 
by the construction Bartram places upon the Indian's action in 
the unspoken words and Romantic sentiments he ascribes to 

Possibly the silent language of his soul, during the moment of suspense 
(for I believe his design was to kill me when he first came up) was 

"The Van Doren edition substitutes "discontented" (p. 45), an emenda- 
tion taken over from the London edition (p. 21). 


after this manner: " White man, thou art my enemy, and thou and thy 
brethren may have killed mine; yet it may not be so, and even were 
that the case, thou art now alone, and in my power. Live; the Great 
Spirit forbids me to touch thy life; go to thy brethren, tell them thou 
sawest an Indian in the forests, who knew how to be humane and com- 
passionate (pp. 20-21). 

Not ail of his Indian encounters are of this threatening 
nature, but they are interesting none the less. Trifling as they 
may turn out to be they are presented in a way which, for the 
moment, quickens the pulse with anticipation. 

I had not left sight of my encampment, following a winding path 
through a grove of Live Oak, Laurel (Magn. grandiflora) and Sapindus, 
before an Indian stepped out of a thicket, and crossed the path just 
before me, having a large turkey cock, slung across his shoulders, he 
saw me and stepping up and smiling, spoke to me in English, bidding 
me good morning. I saluted him with "" It's well brother," led him to 
my camp, and treated him with a dram (p. 75). 

One other illustration will serve to emphasize the directness 
with which Bartram relates these encounters: 

I took out of my wallet some biscuit and cheese, and a piece of neat's 
tongue, composing myself to ease and refreshment; when suddenly 
appeared within a few yards, advancing towards me from behind the 
point, a stout likely young Indian fellow, armed with a rifle gun, and 
two dogs attending, upon sight of me stood, and seemed a little sur- 
prised, as I was very much ; but instantly recollecting himself and assum- 
ing a countenance of benignity and cheerfulness, he came briskly to me 
and shook hands heartily; and smiling enquired from whence I came, 
and whither going, but speaking only in the Cherokee tongue, our 
conversation was not continued for a great length (pp. 361-62). 

However, it is in encounters which contain the element of 
danger that Bartram is at his best. In such cases he builds up, 
by subtle little touches, an atmosphere of real suspense. The 
antagonist need not always be an Indian. The limitless savannas 
and virgin forests are fraught with all sorts of dire possibilities, 
and one feels in reading Bartram that at any minute something 
may happen. To cite another example: 

Observed a number of persons coming up a head which I soon per- 
ceived to be a party of Negroes: I had every reason to dread the con- 
sequence; for this being a desolate place, I was by this time several 


miles from any house or plantation, and had reason to apprehend this 
to be a predatory band of Negroes: people being frequently attacked, 
robbed, and sometimes murdered by them at this place; I was unarmed, 
alone, and my horse tired; thus situated every way in their power, I 
had no alternative but to be resigned and prepare to meet them, as soon 
as I saw them distinctly a mile or two off, I immediately alighted to 
rest, and give breath to my horse, intending to attempt my safety by 
flight, if upon near approach they should betray hostile designs, thus 
prepared, when we drew near to each other, I mounted and rode briskly 
up; and though armed with clubs, axes and hoes, they opened to right 
and left, and let me pass peaceably . . . (pp. 471-72). 

The same ability to portray a situation full of suspense is 
discernible in Bartram's encounters with animals. The element 
of conflict, so essential in any narrative, is never absent from his 
descriptions of these adventurous incidents. His fight with the 
alligators, a part of his hook which has proved most memorable, 
is actually thrilling. First he describes a battle among the 
alligators themselves, which he has witnessed, a sort of prel- 
ude which causes his " apprehensions " to become " highly 
alarmed." To add to the atmosphere of danger, he sets down, 
with truly Poesque sensitiveness to the shadings of a situation, 
that "" the sun was near setting." Then the battle begins. His 
canoe is " attacked on all sides " and his phght becomes "" pre- 
carious to the last degree." The realism of the struggle is most 
meticulous and highly effective. His diction becomes precise 
and dramatic. Nouns become concrete and specific; verbs spring 
alive with action. " Two very large ones attacked me closely, 
at the same instant, rushing up with their heads and part of 
their bodies above the water, roaring terribly and belching floods 
of water over me. They struck their jaws together so close to 
my ears, as almost to stun me, and I expected every moment to 
be dragged out of the boat and instantly devoured " (pp. 

Equally thrilling are other scenes, in which Bartram himself 
was not an antagonist, often not even a participant, but merely 
a spectator. Such are the numerous hunting episodes or battles 
between animals which he describes. These are seldom purely 
objective descriptions but are colored either by pity or by a sense 
of the dramatic. There is the account, in the Introduction, of 
the killing of a mother bear and her cub, which " fell to weep- 


ing and . . . cried out like a child " (p. xxvi) . There is the 
description of Indians hunting deer, which moves with the 
tempo of the genuine story-teller: 

The red warrior, whose plumed head flashes lightning, whoops in 
vain; his proud, ambitious horse strains and pants; the earth glides 
from under his feet, his flowing mane whistles in the wind, as he comes 
up full of vain hopes. The bounding roe views his rapid approaches, 
rises up, lifts aloft his antled head, erects the white flag, and fetching 
a shrill whistle, says to his fleet and free associates, ""follow;" he 
bounds ofi^, and in a few minutes distances his foe a mile ; suddenly he 
stops, turns about, and laughing says, "" how vain, go chase meteors in 
the azure plains above, or hunt butterflies in the fields about your towns 
(p. 188). 

And there is the account of a battle between a hawk and a snake 
'" that had wreathed himself several times round the hawk's 
body." The two, he tells us, finally " mutually agreed to sepa- 
rate themselves, each one seeking his own safety, probably con- 
sidering me as their common enemy " (pp. 218-19)- 

Besides these stories of encounters between man and man, 
man and animals, and animals and animals, Bartram also re- 
lates many Indian stories. He picks up historical episodes and 
tribal legends and relates them with his usual gusto and charm, 
with especial care to their dramatic values. To these belong his 
account of the Indian's disagreement with the Georgians's deter- 
mination of the land boundaries (pp. 39-40) ; his account of 
the origin of the Creek Confederacy (pp. 34-55) ; and the beau- 
tiful legend of the mythical island in Lake Ouaquaphenogaw, 

a most blissful spot of the earth . . . inhabited by a peculiar race of 
Indians, whose women are incomparably beautiful; . . . this terrestrial 
paradise has been seen by some . . . enterprising hunters, when in 
pursuit of game, who being lost in inextricable swamps and bogs, and 
on the point of perishing, were unexpectedly relieved by a company of 
beautiful women, whom they call daughters of the sun, who kindly 
gave them such provisions as they had with them, which were chiefly 
fruit, oranges, dates, &c. and some corn cakes, and then enjoined them 
to fly for safety to their own country; for that their husbands were 
fierce men, and cruel to strangers. . . . (pp. 24-26). 

The importance of Bartram's narrative ability becomes height- 
ened if a comparison is made between his art and that of the 


other travel writers who preceded him. There is neither vivid- 
ness nor particularization in Catesby, Lawson, Byrd, or Carver. 
Lawson, for instance, frequently deals with situations similar 
to those described by Bartram, but they are neither dramatic nor 
memorable. He too mentions the hospitality of the planters, 
but in vague, general, and colorless terms. " About noon," he 
says, " we reached another island . . . ; there lived an honest 
Scot who gave us the best protection his Dwelling afforded. . . .^° 
Not the slightest attempt at individualization or dialogue. He 
also records encounters with Indians, but his record has no ele- 
ment of possible conflict and hence no suspense. " The next 
day about noon we accidently met with a Southward Indian, 
amongst those that us'd to trade backward and forward, and 
spoke a little English, whom we hir'd. . . ." ^^ One must con- 
clude that it was not a mere accident that Bartram' s Travels has 
remained a memorable book, a work of art in many respects, 
while the accounts of Lawson and his contemporaries have to- 
day but a mild historical interest. 

Writing, one feels, was a pleasant art for Bartram. There is 
an ease about his style, a sense of effortlessness; he was a 
traveler with creative ability, a combination not often found 
among earlier travelers and seldom found among later travelers. 
His father, for example, " seems always to have handled the 
pen with a certain stiffness ... he evidently does not feel at 
liberty with his inkhorn. It was this fact, doubtless, that tended 
to lose in the dust of the past a name that otherwise would have 
held its place with the greatest." ^* William Bartram' s name, 
instead of being lost in the dust, is becoming more widely 
known. His art is alive. He saw the American landscape clearly, 

*• John Lawson, op. at., p. 2. 

" Ibid., p. 20. 

*' Harper's Magazine, LX, 322. Also see Popular Science Monthly, XL, 834: 
" His observations are minute and sagacious, and his language is simple, but 
his sentences are loosely strung out, and the record is the barest statement of 
facts." However, Middleton has indicated that John Bartram " on occasion 
displayed an excellent command of English and an almost poetic finish in 
description" (The Scientific Monthly, XXI, 210), which merely, if granted, 
proves that William Bartram's descriptive talent is a flowering of a hereditary 


hugely enjoyed what he saw, and had the ability to dramatize 
it in words. One wonders what Bartram would have done with 
the Natural Bridge in Virginia. Thomas Jefferson spent a page 
and a half in his Notes and succeeded in conveying merely a 
few expository details. He talked about the fissure being 270 
feet deep, 45 feet wide, 90 feet at the top; he talked about his 
looking down from the top and getting a violent headache ; and 
when he became emotional he gave up describing altogether, 
exclaiming that " the rapture of the spectator is really indescrib- 
able." ^^ The magnificence, the colors, the lights and shades, 
that Bartram would have seen and painted for us ! 

Bartram captured not only the aesthetic surfaces of nature, 
but the spirit of distance, solitude, and the unknown. Into the 
romantic remote he traveled and his days and nights pass before 
our eyes, the succession of morning, noon, and night, of sun- 
rise and sunset and moonlight; we meet strange objects of 
nature, people, silence and solitude and song, and sunrise again, 
" the roseate morn." 

Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, pp. 34-35. 



The reasons for Bartram's influence on literature have been 
amply suggested in the preceding chapters. In an age when 
scientific eagerness and romantic interest in the remote and the 
exotic quickened the literary imagination of Europe, it was inevi- 
table that Bartram's book should produce a profound impres- 
sion. Myra Reynolds has indicated the widespread interest in 
Nature among the English poets of the eighteenth century, par- 
ticularly in gardening, landscape, and travel.^ Bissell and Fair- 
child have indicated an equally widespread interest in the 
American Indian on the part of eighteenth-century English 
writers generally.^ All these elements, nature, landscape, travel, 
and Indians, are in Bartram's work. It is necessary to add, how- 
ever, that, just as what is generally understood as the " Romantic 
Movement " was not confined to England alone, so v/as Bar- 
tram's popularity and hence his influence not confined to Eng- 
land alone. His Travels ran through two editions in England 
(1792, 1794), one in Ireland (1793), one in Germany (1793), 
one in Holland (1797), and one in France (1799).' 

The extent of Bartram's influence on literature is not easily 
determined. Many complicating elements enter into such a study. 
Imaginative writers seldom leave their borrowings untransmuted 
into something new and diff^erent; they may draw upon a num- 
ber of sources in a single phrase; they may merely echo a mood 
rather than a line or an epithet; and what may at first appear 
as a borrowing may prove to be a coincidental similarity of 
thought, phrase, or mood. In Bartram's case, however, there are 
many definite references and acknowledgements to his Travels 
in the work of many late eighteenth- and early nineteenth- 
century writers, and modern literary scholarship has amassed a 

^ The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry between Pope and Wordsworth. 
Chicago, 1909. 

* Benjamin Bissell, op. cit.\ Hoxie Neale Fairchild, op. cit. 

" Professor Lane Cooper also reports having seen " other versions at Lund, 
Stockholm, and Upsala " {Nation, LXXX, 152). 



large amount of factual proof of literary indebtedness to Bar- 
tram. To summarize and bring together this mass of material, 
and to augment it with the result of a certain amount of original 
research is the aim of this more extended study. 

1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

Thirty-seven years ago Professor Aloys Brandl published a 
note book kept by Coleridge during the years 1795 to 1798.* 
In it Coleridge had set down, among many ideas of his own, 
some quotations from the books he happened to be reading at 
the time. A study of these quotations discloses that Coleridge 
had read Bartram's Travels with a great deal of attention, for 
he found many passages, sometimes whole pages, important 
enough to be copied into his notebook. Professor John Livings- 
ton Lowes, in his study of Coleridge's imagination, thus sum- 
marizes the impression that Bartram produced upon Coleridge: 

Probably none of the books which Coleridge was reading during the 
gestation of " The Ancient Mariner " left more lively images in his 
memory than Bartram's Travels. The fascinating fifth chapter of Part 
Two in particular had awakened him to all manner of poetic possi- 
bilities, and prompted copious transcriptions in the Note book. And 
these transcripts form, as it happens, a significant cluster. The alligators 
. . . were set down from pages 127-30 of the Travels; the "little 
peaceable community" of snake-birds, from 132-33; the antiphonal 
roarings of the crocodiles and the thunder, from page 140; the wilder- 
ness plot, green, fountainous, and unviolated, from page 157; and the 
Gordonia lasianthus, from pages 161-62. Coleridge's memory, it is 
clear, had been greedily absorbing impressions from these thirty-odd 
pages. . . .5 

The specific use that Coleridge made of these impressions from 
the Travels is a subject that leads us to Coleridge's poems. 

Long before the finding of the Note Book Bartram's name 
was linked with the work of Coleridge by the poet himself. In 
a footnote to a passage in " This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison " 

* "" S. T. Coleridges Notizbuch aus den Jahren 1795-1798." Herrig's Archiv 
fiir das Studium der Neuren Sprachen und Litteraturen. XCVII (1896), 333-372. 
The note book is in the British Museum {Add. MSS. 27901). It had belonged 
to Coleridge's school fellow, John Mathew Gutch. 

^ The Road to Xanadu, pp. 46-47. 


he states that he has found in Bartram's Travels corroboration 
of an image he has used. The passage in question reads 

. . . when the last rook 
Beat its straight path along the dusky air 
Homewards, I blest it ! deeming its black wing 
(Now a dim speck, now vanishing in light) 
Had cross'd the mighty Orb's dilated glory, 
While thou stood'st gazing; or, when all was still. 
Flew creeking o'er thy head, . . . (LI. 68-74) 

Coleridge's footnote reads: 

Some months after I had written this line [italicized], it gave me 
pleasure to find that Bartram had observed the same circumstance of 
the Savanna Crane. " When these Birds move their wings in flight, 
their strokes are slow, moderate and regular; and even when at a con- 
siderable distance or high above us, we plainly hear the quill-feathers: 
their shafts and webs upon one another creek as the joints or working 
of a vessel in a tempestuous sea." 

The poem, addressed to Charles Lamb, was written in July, 
1797, and published in the Annual Anthology in 1800. Since 
the footnote definitely states that Coleridge read Bartram " some 
months after " he had written the poem, Ernest Hartley Cole- 
ridge naturally concluded that Coleridge's " first acquaintance 
with Bartram belonged rather to the end than to the earlier 
part of 1797 " and " that the last rook ' flew creeking ' some 
months before the Savanna crane had floated into his ken." ^ 
The further " unimpeachable evidence " which he offers in 
support of his conclusion has been invalidated by Professor 
Lowes's more recent study of the " Gutch Memorandum Book," 
and of other documents, especially the early drafts of " Lewti." 
Professor Lowes comes to the conclusion that the early drafts 
of " Lewti " date " from the end of 1794 or the beginning of 
1795. And Coleridge knew Bartram when he wrote them." ^ 

Both E. H. Coleridge and Professor Lowes are concerned 
especially with the expression " Flew creeking," which, E. H. 
Coleridge remarks, " is a strange one." Besides, however, the 

' E. H. Coleridge, "' Coleridge, Wordsworth, and the American Botanist Wil- 
liam Bartram." Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature of the United 
Kingdom. Second Series. XXVII, 69-92. 

'Xanadu, pp. 513-15. 


passage from Bartram which Coleridge quoted in his footnote 
as proof of the accuracy of his observation, there is another 
passage in Bartram describing the flight of the Savanna crane: 

Behold the loud, sonorous, watchful savanna Cranes (grus pratensis) 
with musical clangor, in detached squadrons. They spread their light 
elastic sail : at first they move from the earth heavy and slow ; they labor 
and beat the dense air ; they form the line with the wide extended wings, 
tip to tip; . . .8 

The parallelism between Bartram' s " beat the dense air " and 
Coleridge's " Beat . . . the dusky air," when considered along 
with the repetition of the " strange " expression " Flew creek- 
ing " from the other passage, suggests certain inferences. One 
is that Coleridge did not intend to imply in his footnote that 
he had read Bartram for the first time " Some months after " 
he had written " This Lime-Tree Bower," but that he had been 
rereading Bartram." Another is that that when he wrote his 
poem his imagination was stimulated by retensions from the two 
descriptions of the flight of Savanna cranes he had read in 

Further support of the belief that Bartram was in Coleridge's 
mind in the summer of 1797, when he wrote " This Lime-Tree 
Bower," is given by Professor Lowes in his contention that 
" the passage in the fourth act of Osor'io (11. 213-17; Poems, 
II, 573; cf. I, 184) is as unmistakably suggested by Bartram as 
is the corresponding picture in [Wordsworth's] ' Ruth ' (11. 
67-78) . And the fourth act of Osorio was written before Sept. 
13, 1797 {Poems, II, 518; B. E. I, 140)." " Coleridge's passage 

® Travels, p. 144, second London edition, 1794. It was this edition which 
Coleridge finally purchased in 1818, although he may have read an earlier 
edition before. (See Xanadu, p. 453). 

* That Coleridge was in the habit of rereading books which interested him 
is quite clear. Thus he borrowed from the Bristol library Poetic Tracts, Vol. Ill, 
on March 2-20, 1795, and again on December 30, 1795 to January 28, 1796; 
Cudworth's Intellectual System on May 15-June 6, 1795, and again November 9- 
December 13, 1796; Benyowsky's Memoirs December 1-15, 1797, and again 
May 31-July 13, 1798 (Paul Kaufman, "" The Reading of Southey and Coleridge: 
The Record of their Borrowings from the Bristol Library, 1793-98." Modern 
Philology, XXI, 319-20). 

^° Xanadu, p. 513. 


He heard a voice distinctly; 'twas the youth's 
Who sung a doleful song about green fields, 
How sweet it were on lake or wild savannah 
To hunt for food, and be a naked man. 
And wander up and down at liberty. 

But if these lines are influenced by Bartram, why not lines 230- 
35 ? They are spoken by the same character, Foster-Mother, and 
complete the story of the unhappy youth: 

In spite of his dissuasion seized a boat. 

And all alone set sail by silent moonlight, 

Up a great river, great as any sea, 

And ne'er was heard of more; but it is supposed 

He lived and died among the savage men. 

The truth seems to be that in both passages typical elements of 
Bartram's country are apparent: the green fields, the lake, the 
wild savannah, the hunt for food, the naked man, the wander- 
ing up and down at liberty, and, again, the silent moonlight, 
the " great river, great as any sea." ^^ 

However, there are more than these two passages in Osorio 
suggestive of Bartram. In Act I Albert speaks to Maria: 

On a rude rock, 
A rock, methought, fast by a grove of firs 
Whose thready leaves to the low breathing gale 
Made a soft sound most like the distant ocean, 
I stay'd . . . 

The dews fell clammy, and the night descended, 
Black, sultry, close ! and ere the midnight hour 
A storm came on, mingling all sounds of fear 
That woods and sky and mountains seem'd one havock! 
The second flash of lightning show'd a tree 
Hard by me, newly-scath'd (303-315). 

Bartram's impressive storms have already been mentioned. ^^ 
This passage recalls all the elements of a Bartram storm: " the 
furious winds and sweeping rains bent the lofty groves " (p. 

^^ Cf . Bartram's description of the way he set sail " alone " up the "' great 
river " St. Johns, against the importunings of his host, Mr. Marshall (p. 77-78) 
and of the river where it widens into Lake George upon whose " swelling seas " 
Bartram's boat diminishes " to a nutshell " (p. 101). 

" See Part II. 



51) ; " the air still, gloomy and sultry "; " the hurricane comes 
on roaring "; " terrified . . . murmurs and groans " (p. 386) ; 
" the skies appear streaked with blood . . . whilst the heavy 
thunder kept the earth in a constant tremor . . . the high forests 
. . . bent to the blast " (p. l4l) ; " instantly the lightning . . . 
darted with inconceivable rapidity on the trunks of a large pine- 
tree, . . . and set it in a blaze " (p. 13). One cannot expect, 
of course, that Coleridge's storm, as it came out of what Pro- 
fessor Lowes calls " the deep well " of impressions retained 
from his reading, would repeat Bartram's identical words in all 
cases. The parallel between the elements that constitute the 
storm in Osorio and in Bartram is so striking, however, even 
to the tree " set in a blaze " or "' newly-scath'd " by lightning, 
that the addition of this passage to those of Osorio already 
shown to have a Bartram influence seems justified. 

The fact is that Osorio is as full of echoes from Bartram as 
Wordsworth's "Ruth," a poem "saturated with Bartram."" 
Everywhere in Osorio one stumbles upon parallels and reminis- 
cences of Bartram's phraseology and sentiment. In addition to 
the passages already cited the following lines are suggestive: 

... It is a small green dale 
Built all around with high off-sloping hills, 

There's a lake in the midst, 
And round its banks tall wood, that branches over 
And makes a kind of faery forest grow 
Down in the water. At the further end 
A puny cataract falls on the lake; 
And there (a curious sight) you see its shadow (II, 148-156). 

One recalls the village of Augusta 

situated on a rich and fertile plain, on the Savanna river ; the buildings 
are near its banks, and extend ... up to the cataracts, . . . which are 
formed by the first chain of rocky hills. . . . When the river is low, . . . 
the cataracts are four or five feet in height across the river . . . 
(pp. 33-34). 

One also recalls: 

Meditating on the marvellous scenes of primitive nature, ... I gently 

^^ Athenaeum, August 12, 1893, p. 219. 


descended the peaceful stream [Altamaha], on whose polished surface 
were depicted the mutable shadows from its pensile banks ... (p. 49). 

Two Other passages in Osorio are strongly reminiscent of 
Bartram. Alhadra soliloquizes of 

. . . hanging woods, that touch'd by autumn seem'd 

As they were blossoming hues of fire and gold, 

The hanging woods, most lovely in decay. 

The many clouds, the sea, the rock, the sands, 

Lay in the silent moonshine; and the owl, 

. . . the scritch owl only wak'd, . . . 

It were a lot divine in some small skiff, 

Along some ocean's boundless solitude, 

To float for ever with a careless course. 

And think myself the only being alive! (V, 39-56) 

One recalls Bartram' s woods and his " celebrated beauties . . . , 
fragrant Calycanthus, blushing Rhododendron . . . , perfumed 
Convalaria and fiery Azalea, flaming on the ascending hills or 
wavy surface of the gilding brooks " (pp. 322-23) . Coleridge's 
" blossoming hues of fire and gold " bring to mind Bartram's 
memorable explanation: 

The epithet fiery, I annex to this most celebrated species of Azalea, as 
being expressive of the appearance of it in flower, which are in general 
of the colour of the finest red lead, orange and bright, as well as yellow 
and cream colour; . . . clusters of the blossoms cover the shrubs in 
such incredible profusion on the hill sides, that suddenly opening to 
view from dark shades, we are alarmed with the apprehension of the 
hills being set on fire (p. 323). 

Furthermore, in Alhadra's wish, taken with the preceding lines, 
one sees Bartram ascending the Altamaha in his " neat light 
cypress canoe," resigning his " bark to the friendly current " 
and floating past " rocky cliffs " and " forests " and " high pro- 
jecting promontories " (pp. 48-9) ; one sees him emerge from 
under the " shady spreading boughs " of the live oaks and 
glimpsing the " boundless ocean " (pp. 58-59) ; and one recalls 
his being " awakened ... by the terrifying screams of Owls " 
(p. 135)." 

Just as surely one thinks of Bartram upon reading Albert s 

** Also see listing of " the little screech owl," p. 289. 


With other ministrations thou, O Nature! 

Healest thy wandering and distemper' d child: 

Thou pourest on him thy soft influences, 

Thy sunny hues, fair forms, and breathing sweets, 

Thy melodies of woods, and winds, and waters, 

Till he relent, and can no more endure 

To be a jarring and a dissonant thing 

Amid this general dance and minstrelsy; 

But bursting into tears wins back his way. 

His angry spirit heal'd and harmoniz'd 

By the benignant touch of love and beauty. (V, 126-136) 

The phraseology is too general to permit the acceptance of 
parallels as proof of indebtedness, but the sentiment is so 
characteristic of Bartram's numerous tributes to Nature's hues 
and fair forms — woods and winds and waters — to its beauty, 
harmony, and benignity, that, when considered with the other 
lines in the play which apparently owe their inspiration and 
phraseology to Bartram, this passage must also be included 
among Coleridge's retentions from Bartram. Furthermore, it is 
obviously related to the "' wilderness plot " and " Siminole " 
entries, both from Bartram, in the Gutch Memorandum Book.^** 

'" The Ancient Mariner " discloses a variety of Bartram influ- 
ences. Here we find identical phraseology and imagery and 
what E. H. Coleridge calls " a less verifiable but no less sug- 
gestive coincidence of moral feeling or sentiment." ^® Professor 
Lowes' s study of the sources of this poem is exhaustive and 
needs no summary here, except in so far as Bartram is con- 
cerned. Coleridge was an omnivorous reader, and the tracing 
of echoes in only two poems,. of which " The Ancient Mariner " 
is one, has led Professor Lowes to the writing of a volume of 
more than six hundred pages. By a diligent study of what Cole- 
ridge copied from Bartram into his Note Book and of the poem 
itself Professor Lowes sheds an interesting light on the work- 
ings of Coleridge's imagination and, incidentally, on his im- 
mense debt to Bartram. 

Thus Professor Lowes points out that Coleridge's description 
of an aurora in " The Ancient Mariner " in the stanza 

^^ Alois Brandl, S. T. Coleridge's Notizbuch aus den Jahren 179^-1798; quoted 
in Xanadu, pp. 5, 8, 11. 

^' Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, pp. 69-92. 


The thick black cloud was cleft, and still 
The Moon was at its side; 
Like waters shot from some high crag, 
The lightning fell with never a jag, 
A river steep and wide,^'' 

was influenced by Bartram's description of a tempest: 

How purple and fiery appeared the tumultious(sic) clouds! swiftly 
ascending or darting from the horizo7i upwards ; they seemed to oppose 
and dash against each other, the skies appeared streaked with blood or 
purple flame overhead, and flaming lightning streaming and darting 
about in every direction around, seems to fill the world tvith fire ; whilst 
the heavy thunder keeps the earth in a constant tremor.^^ 

" Strike out the clouds and the thunder," says Professor Lowes, 
" and that is an uncommonly vivid and typical description of an 
aurora." ^^ Of course the images in the stanza are not all from 
Bartram; they are a merging of what he read in Bartram and 
in other books,^° as well as what he had observed himself, such 
as the rays of light from his fire-place in his library at Keswick 
reflected in the garden, " that seemed burning in the bushes or 
between the trees." ^^ In other words, " Bartram's lightning, 
falling like a river," ^^ played its part in the confluence of 
associations in Coleridge's mind which gave birth to the stanza. 
All this becomes more certain when the stanzas immediately 
preceding the one quoted are examined. Here we find " And 
the coming wind did roar more loud," " And the rain poured 
down from one black cloud," " And soon I heard a roaring 
wind " and '" But with its sound it shook the sails." In the 

^'' LI. 322-26. The italics are Professor Lowes's. 

^* Travels, 14 1. The italics are Professor Lowes's. 

" Xanadu, p. 187. 

'"' Professor Lowes cites Samuel Hearne's A Journey from Prince of Wales's 
Fort in Hudson's Bay, to the Northern Ocean. London, 1795; De Maupertuis's 
The Figure of the Earth, Determined from Observations Made by Order of the 
French King, at the Polar Circle. London, 1738; David Crantz's The History 
of Greenland . . . London, 1767; and Frederick Martens's Voyage into Spitz- 
bergen and Greenland. . . . 1694. For a note on auroras in Coleridge, Words- 
worth and Byron, see Lane Cooper, " A Dissertation upon Northern Lights." 
Modern Language Notes, XXI, 44-46. 

" Works, Shedd ed., 1854, II, 135. 

"Xanadu, p. 188. 


passage quoted from page l4l of Bartram's Travels' we find 
" the hurricane comes on roaring " and " the heavy thunder 
keeps the earth in a constant tremor," which latter statement 
becomes the " sound [that] shook the sails." ^^ Moreover echoes 
of the very same passage have already been noted in Osorio, a 
slightly earlier work. 

In a study of " Wordsworth's Sources " -* Professor Lane 
Cooper incidentally suggested the parallel between a memorable 
stanza in " The Ancient Mariner ' : 

Sometimes a- dropping from the sky 
I heard the sky-lark sing; 
Sometimes all little birds that are, 
How they seemed to fill the sea and air 
With their sweet jargoning! (358-62) 

and the following passage in Bartram: 

In the spring of the year the small birds of passage appear very 
suddenly in Pennsylvania ... at once the woods, the groves, the meads, 
are filled with their melody as if they dropped down from the skies. 
The reason or probable cause is their setting off with high and fair 
winds from southward; for a strong south and south-west wind about 
the beginning of April never fails bringing millions of these welcome 
visitors (p. 288). 

That suggestion still stands as a highly plausible one, even 
though Professor Cooper has seen fit, twenty-five years later, 
to add a reservation. In a review of The Road to Xanadu, he 
takes issue with Professor Lowes' s statement that the diction of 
" The Ancient Mariner " is mainly " determined by the words 
and phrases taken over from the travel-books," ^^ believing that 
" Mr. Lowes on the whole underestimates the draft upon other 
sources." Professor Cooper now cites Gower and The Tempest 

^^ " The sails themselves," remarks Professor Lowes, '" that were so thin and 
sere, are the transfigured sails of the veritable ship from which the actual 
albatross was shot: " Our sails,' wrote Captain Shelvocke, "... were now grown 
so very thin and rotten '." Xanadu, p. 192. The quotation from Shelvocke is 
from page 432 of Capt. George Shelvocke's A Voyage round the World by Way 
of the Great South Sea . . . London, 1726. 

** Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 499. 

*= Xanadu, p. 327. 


as well as Bartram as possible sources of the stanza in question, 
and comes to the conclusion that " Here, then, for a single 
passage in The Rime are two, or three, reminiscences from ' the 
elder poets ' as against one from a book of travels." -^ This 
too is plausible. However, the parallels first cited by Professor 
Cooper are striking, especially when we consider the use of 
Bartram that Coleridge made in several earlier stanzas in the 
same poem, such as in his description of a storm and of an 
aurora. Coleridge's " all little birds that are " which " seemed 
to fill the sea and air With their sweet jargoning " look sus- 
piciously like Bartram' s millions of " small birds " filling the 
" woods, the groves and meads . . . with their melody," and 
while Coleridge, being a poet, makes a specific bird, a sky-lark, 
" Sometimes a-dropping from the sky," yet Bartram' s birds also 
appeared suddenly, " as if they dropped down from the skies." 
In Part VII of " The Ancient Mariner " appears the line 

And the owlet whoops to the wolf below (536) 

upon which Professor Lowes remarks, " In that part of the book 
[ Bartram' s Travels] which Coleridge read most intently, only 
four pages from the Great Sink, a dozen from the Seminoles, 
and a score from the Savanna crane, Bartram tells of observing 
' a company of wolves . . . under a few trees . . . sitting on 
their hinder parts.' ' We then whooped,' he adds.-^ And unless 
all signs fail, the owlet's whoop to the wolf below echoed in 
Coleridge's memory that whoop to the wolves in Florida." '^ 

Two other passages in the poem invite comment. One is the 
lines about the water-snakes which the Mariner watched: 

Blue, glossy green, and velvet black, 
They coiled and swam; and every track 
Was a flash of golden fire (79-81). 

According to Professor Lowes the snakes themselves came out 
of Edward Cooke's Voyage to the South Sea, and Round the 
World in 1708-11,'^ but part of their coloring was suggested 
by Bartram's bream or sun fish: "pale gold (or burnished 

" p. M. L. A., XLII, 589-590. '' Xanadu, pp. 215-16. 

" Travels, 199. " Ibid., 479. 


brass) colour ... the scales . . . powdered with red, russet, 
silver, blue and green specks," while at the gills is '" a little 
spatula . . . encircled with silver, and velvet black " (Travels, 
pp. 153-54). Coleridge's reminiscences, Professor Lowes be- 
lieves, coalesced, the bream's velvet black completing the water- 
snakes' rich attire.^° However, E. H. Coleridge, in an earlier 
study, has suggested that even the snakes themselves came out 
of Bartram. He refers to the episode related by Bartram who 
had gone during the night many times to a spring to fetch water, 
and later found by daylight that the fountain was guarded by 
a huge rattlesnake. Bartram refused to kill the snake, inasmuch 
as the " generous creature " had spared him and his companions. 
" If Coleridge read this passage," E. H. Coleridge remarks, '" no 
doubt he read it with approval." "^ Combining Professor Lowes's 
hypothesis of Bartram's influence on the coloring of Coleridge's 
water-snakes with E. H. Coleridge's suggestion the if in the 
latter's statement becomes considerably lessened. But a further 
strengthening of the hypothesis of Bartram's influence on these 
lines is possible. Bartram's reaction to the episode is significant. 
" My imagination and spirits," he says, " were in a tumult, al- 
most equally divided betwixt thanksgiving to the Supreme Crea- 
tor and preserver, and the dignified nature of the generous 
though terrible creature " (p. 269) . The Mariner narrates that, 
upon beholding the water-snakes, 

A spring of love gushed from my heart, 
And I blessed them unaware (284-85). 

The other passage which invites comment is the stanza 

He prayeth best, who loveth best 
All things both great and small; 
For the dear God who loveth us, 
He made and loveth all (614-17). 

Here the indebtedness to Bartram, if there be any, is manifestly 
of the type which E. H. Coleridge calls a " coincidence of moral 
feeling and sentiment." The following address to singing birds 
in Bartram is credited by E. H. Coleridge with the responsibility 
for this coincidence: 

"* Ibid., 47. *^ Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature. 


Ye vigilant and faithful servants of the Most High ! ye who worship 
the Creator, morning, noon, and eve, in simplicity of heart; I haste 
to join the universal anthem . . . O universal Father! look down upon 
us we beseech thee, with an eye of pity and compassion, and grant 
that universal peace and love, may prevail in the earth, even that divine 
harmony, which fills the heavens, thy glorious habitation (pp. 100-101) . 

It is possible that it was with the Philadelphia Quaker offering 
his devout prayer in the wilderness in Coleridge's mind that 
he wrote 

He prayeth best, who loveth best 
All things both great and small. 

One may not be justified in going as far as Professor Gum- 
mere has gone in his statement that " Coleridge . . . got his 
best matter for his best poem from an old book of travels," ^" 
for it is not so easy to decide what constitutes " best matter," 
but that " The Ancient Mariner " owes a considerable debt to 
Bartram's Travels is certain. 

Images retained from Bartram crop up again in other poems 
of Coleridge. The owls that " wake " in Osorio and " hoot " 
in " The Ancient Mariner " hoot again in " Christabel," al- 
though in the latter poem they may have coalesced with the 
memories of owls in the neighborhood of Stowey and with 
Shakespeare's owls.^^ That Coleridge could not have avoided 
thinking of Bartram at the time of writing "' Christabel " is 
clear from his Note Book. Just before an entry from Bartram's 
description of " the alligators' terrible roar " appear the lines 

Behind the thin 
Grey cloud that cover' d but not hid the sky 
The round full moon look'd small,^* 

which become transformed as lines 16-19 of " Christabel." 

It is more certain that Coleridge used another episode from 
Bartram at least three times. The dream of Bracy the bard who 
saw a dove (symbol of Christabel) " Fluttering, and uttering 
fearful moan " and found, when he stooped to take it, 

"* Francis B. Gummere, Democracy and Poetry, 1911, p. 107. 
" Love's Labour's Lost, Act v, scene 2. 
** Gutch Memorandum Book, p. 39. 


a bright green snake 
Coiled round its wings and neck (594-50) 

came out of a passage, which also gave rise to 

the huge 
serpent often hissed there beneath the talons of the vulture, and the 
vulture screamed, his wings imprisoned within the coils of the serpent 
(" The Wanderings of Cain," 11. 78-81) 

and to 

Or, like an eagle, whose strong wings press up 

Against a coiling serpent's folds, can I 

Strike but for mockery, and with restless beak 

Gore my own breast? . . . ("Zapolya", 89-92) ^^ 

The Bartram passage reads: 

The high road being here open and spacious ... I observed a large 
hawk on the ground in the middle of the road: he seemed to be in 
distress endeavoring to rise; when, coming up near him, I found him 
closely bound up by a very long coach-whip snake, that had wreathed 
himself several times round the hawk's body, who had but one of his 
wings at liberty. ... I suppose the hawk had been the aggressor . . . 
and that the snake dexterously and luckily threw himself in coils round 
his body (pp. 218-19) ^« 

Coleridge used three different birds in his three poems, to suit 
his respective needs or moods, but they are clearly all derived 
from Bartram's hawk. The details of the conflict between the 
dove and the snake in " Christabel " support this view: 

Close by the dove its head it crouched; 
And with the dove it heaves and stirs, 
Swelling its neck as she swells hers! (551-54) 

If we accept the premise that Bartram was fresh in Cole- 
ridge's mind at the time he wrote " Christabel," a premise highly 
justified, in view of the parallels pointed out above, Bersch's 

'" Georg Bersch in his Inaugural-Dissertation, 5. T. Coleridges Naturschilder- 
ungen in seinen Gedtchten (Marburg, 1909) was, I believe, the first to point 
to these three instances (p. 101) of the same episode and to relate them to 

"* Quoted also in Ernest Hartley Coleridge's facsimile edition of " Christabel " 
for the Royal Society of Literature, London, 1907, p. 91. E. H. Coleridge's quo- 
tation is from the 1794 edition of the Travels, pp. 216-17. 


suggestion that Coleridge modeled the " snaky " nature of Lady 
Geraldine upon Bartram's descriptions of snakes deserves atten- 
tion, although it is, at first blush, far-fetched. We know that 
Coleridge entered long extracts from Bartram into his Note 
Book just about the time when he worked on " Christabel." 
Lady Geraldine, Bersch observes, has " A snake's small eye " 
(1. 583) and a "' look of dull and treacherous hate! " (1. 606), 
yet Christabel finds herself under the spell of those eyes so 
that " what she knew she could not tell, O'er-mastered by the 
mighty spell " (11. 619-20) . Now Bartram, speaking of rattle- 
snakes, tells us that " They are supposed to have the power of 
fascination in an eminent degree, so as to inthral their prey 
. . . they charm birds, rabbits, squirrels and other animals, and 
by steadfastly looking at them possess them with infatuation." ^^ 
However, Coleridge may have read about this charming power 
of snakes long before he came upon Bartram, for the tradition 
is well-known in literature. 

Coleridge's use of one episode or one image more than once 
is disclosed by more than his employment of the conflict be- 
tween a bird and a snake in three poems — " Christabel," " The 
Wanderings of Cain," and Zapolya. We have noted the 
owls in Osorio, in " The Ancient Mariner " and in " Christabel." 
They hoot once more in " Frost at Midnight." In this poem the 
" owlet's cry " comes " loud — and hark, again! loud as before." 
The relation of this owlet to Bartram is not so certain as that of 
the owlet in " The Ancient Mariner " whooping to the wolf 
below, but there are other lines in " Frost at Midnight " which 
indicate that Bartram was in Coleridge's mind when he wrote 
the poem. The calm which " vexes " his meditation with " its 
strange and extreme silentness " makes him think at the same 
time of the 

Sea, and hill, and wood, 
With all the numberless goings-on of life, 
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue fiatne 
Lies on my low-burnt fre, and quiver not (11. 8-14). 

''' P. 267. See Bersch, op. cit., p. 102. E. H. Coleridge, however, cites a 
passage from M. G. Lewis's Ambrosio, or The Monk as a possible source for 
Coleridge's snake charm (' Christabel," pp. 92-93). 


While it is true that any keen observer of a fire might remember 
the appearance of a flame in a hearth, yet memory may have 
been at least stimulated by Bartram's description of his resting 
on a wooded bank of the " peaceful Alatamaha," his " barque 
securely moored," while his " fire burnt low; the blue smoke 
scarce rising above the . . . embers . . ." (pp. 50-51). 

Later, Coleridge's vision of his boy's destiny has the authen- 
tic coloring of Bartram: 

But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze 

By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags 

Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, 

Which image in their bulk both lake and shores 

And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear 

The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible 

Of that eternal language, which God 

Utters, who from eternity doth teach 

Himself in all, and all things in himself. 

Great universal Teacher! ... (54-63) 

The pantisocracy dream is evidentally not yet dead, nor the 
'" wilderness plot " out of Bartram. Here the landscape and the 
sentiment of Bartram meet once more in Coleridge's mind. For 
to Bartram, too, observing the " lovely shapes " of lakes, shores, 
crags, mountains, clouds, nature " is the work of God omnipo- 
tent " (p. xxiv) ; it is the expression of the " power, majesty, 
and perfection of the great Almighty Creator " (p. 73) ; of the 
" universal sovereign " (p. 100). 

A more obvious use of Bartram's Altamaha appears in 
" Lewti." Here Coleridge locates his lover by "' Tamaha's 
stream." But what this poem owes to Bartram has been capit- 
ally summarized by Professor Lowes in a compact footnote para- 
graph. " The poem," says Professor Lowes, " is a night-piece 
on the ' Tamaha ' ; there are rocks by the river {Poems, II, 1049- 
51; tf. I, 253) ; there is the ' radiant edge ' of the moon, peep- 
ing below a black-arched cloud (II, 1050) , and the shadow of 
a star (I, 253), and there are waves breaking against a curved 
and distant shore (I, 253, n.; II, 1050)." Professor Lowes then 
draws parallels from Bartram's night-piece on the Alatamaha 
(p. 51) ; on the sides of the river are rocky cliffs (p. 49) and 
" high shores " (p. 50) , which compare with Coleridge's "' High 


o'er the rocks at night I rov'd " (II, 1051) ; Bartram observes 
an echpse of the moon, of which, " at length " only " a silver 
thread alone " remains visible and " the late starry skies " are 
" now overcast by thick clouds " (p. 51) ; there are shadows in 
the river (p. 49) ; later Bartram reaches the mouth of the river 
and describes the waves of the sea on the beach (pp. 59-60). 
There can, of course, be no question that Coleridge's " gentle 
river" (I, 255) is Bartram's " Alatamaha! gentle by nature" 
(p. 51). An early draft of the poem gives its title as " The 
Wild Indian's Love-Chaunt " (Poems, II, 1050) , and Cole- 
ridge's interest in Bartram's Indians is shown by his Note Book 

The Life of the Siminole playful from infancy to Death compared to 
the Snow, which in a calm day falling scarce seems to fall and plays and 
dances in and out, to the very moment that it reaches the ground — '^ 

The connection between the Altamaha and the Indians is made 
clear by Bartram, who " ascended this beautiful river, on whose 
fruitful banks the generous and true sons of liberty securely 
dwell " (p. 42). Professor Lowes is surely justified in coming 
to the conclusion that " No one who reads the three or four con- 
secutive pages in Bartram can well doubt that they inspired the 
setting of 'Lewti'";^^ setting, however, is, in this case, too 
modest a claim for Bartram, unless the word be considered to 
include both the atmospheric and physical coloring of the poem, 
and even then one would have to add certain definite images 
and the wandering lover himself. 

In Coleridge's Note Book appears the entry: " Describe the 
never-bloomless Furze and then transi to the Gordonia Lasi- 
anthus." The rest is a long transcript of Bartram's description 
of that "" tall aspiring " tree from pp. I6l-l62.*° The never- 
bloomless furze later crept into line 6 of " Fears in Solitude " 
v/hile the Gordonia apparently was not utilized (except by 
Wordsworth) . Yet Coleridge when he wrote of 

" Fol. 36a; Archiv, pp. 360-61. Travels, pp. 212-13. See also Xanadu, p. 11. 

"Xanadu, p. 514. 

^"Archiv, pp. 359-60; Xanadu, p. 9. 


that swelling slope, 
Which hath a gay and gorgeous covering on, 
All golden with the never-bloomless furze, (11. 4-6) 

could hardly have failed to think of Bartram. The Gordonia, 
with which the furze was associated in the Note Book and, 
inevitably in Coleridge's mind, does not appear in the poem, 
but other echoes of Bartram, of the native habitat of the Gor- 
donia Lasianthus, do. There is a " green and silent spot, amid 
the hills " and " The minstrelsy that solitude loves best " and 
"Religious meanings in the forms of Nature! " A suspicion 
creeps in that Coleridge in his idealization of England saw a 
good deal of Bartram's country with its " fields," its " clouds," 
its " rocky shores," its " seas," its "" streams and wooded hills " 
{Poems, I, 262). 

Attention has been called to Coleridge's use of Bartram's 
description of a fight between a hawk and a snake in " The 
Wanderings of Cain." Bersch has expressed a belief that the 
wild animals mentioned in this poem, as well as in " Religious 
Musings," *^ were suggested by Coleridge's reading of Bar- 
tram.*- The best proof of this assertion was given by Ernest 
Hartley Coleridge when he published a rough draft of the poem, 
which he had found among Coleridge's papers. In it occurs the 
statement that Cain and the evil shape that guides him come 
" to an immense gulph filled with water, whither they descend, 
followed by alligators," *^ and we know that Bartram's alliga- 
tors found a place in Coleridge's Note Book. To the alligators, 
the snake and the vulture, must be added at least the bison (I, 
289) as definitely coming out of Bartram; the other animals, 

*^ No one has noticed, however, that in this poem there is more than the 
wild animals to suggest Bartram. While Coleridge quotes a passage from 
Bruce's Travels (vol. 4, p. 557) as the source of his simoom, his description of 
other storms strongly recalls Bartram; e.g., "the mad careering of the storm" 
(1. 245), "wild and wavy chaos " (I. 246), " fruit Shook from the figtree by a 
sudden storm" (1. 314). Also the landscape, foliage and sentiment recall 
Bartram: "sea-breeze," "blossoms," "wafted perfumes," "many-tinted streams," 
" gorgeous company of clouds," " precious fountain," " green herbs," " landscape 
streams with glory! ", " Nature more medicinal than . . . soft balm." 

" Op. cit., p. 101. 

" Athenaeum, Jan. 27, 1894, p. 114. 


such as the squirrel, the lion, the lark, are not necessarily 
confined to Bartram's region, although even they may have 
suggested themselves by a reading of the Travels. 

The landscape generally is reminiscent of Bartram. " Mid- 
night on the Euphrates," with " cedars, palms, pines " (I, 286), 
is again suspiciously like Bartram's night-piece on the Altamaha. 
The description that follows changes the suspicion into a cer- 
tainty, for here we get the " ragged rock " of a cavern over- 
looking the Euphrates, " the moon rising on the horizon " (cf. 
Bartram's " the moon majestically rising in the east," p. 50, and 
" the moon about an hour above the horizon," p. 51) ; and the 
immense gulph with the alligators (I, 286) . The " immense 
meadow so surrounded as to be inaccessible " is a replica of the 
" extensive Alachua savanna . . . encircled with high-sloping 
hills " (p. 187). " For the torrent that roareth far off hath a 
voice " is another echo of Bartram's storms and recalls Cole- 
ridge's entry, from Bartram, into the Note Book: " the distant 
thunder sounds heavily — the crocodiles answer it like an 
echo— " ^* 

" Kubla Khan " owes to Bartram a great deal of its imagery. 
The dream of the poem was stimulated by Purchas, whom Cole- 
ridge had been reading just before he fell asleep, but, as Pro- 
fessor Lowes has remarked, " there were sufficient links between 
the images from Purchas which were sinking into the Well and 
the images from Bartram which were already there. And they 
did coalesce." ^'^ The background of the poem, Coleridge's " sav- 
age place," with its " gardens bright with sinuous rills " and its 
" forests ancient as the hills. Enfolding sunny spots of green- 
ery," unmistakably came out of Bartram. In the Note Book 
Coleridge had entered: 

— some wilderness-plot, green and fountainous and unviolated by Man,*^ 

and here we have this "' wilderness-plot " memorandum worked 
into a poem. That the memorandum was a result of the reading 
of Bartram is quite certain. It appears between two entries that 
are transcripts of Bartram's crocodiles or alligators {Travels, 
127-30). Then follow entries from subsequent pages of Bar- 

^* Archiv, p. 359. *" Xanadu, p. 366. " Archiv, p. 359. 


tram, Coleridge could not have missed Bartram's description 
of the " inchanting little Isle of Palms " on page 157, a " blessed 
unviolated spot of earthl " nor of Bartram's own predicament 
when, on the next page, he finds himself "' alone in the wilder- 
ness of Florida." 

Bartram's " inchanting Isle " rises " from the limpid waters 
of the lake ; its fragrant groves and blooming lawns invested and 
protected by encircling ranks of the Yucca gloriosa; a fascinat- 
ing atmosphere surrounds this blissful garden; the balmy Lan- 
tana, ambrosial Citra, perfumed Crinum, perspiring their min- 
gled odours, wafted through Zanthoxilon groves." When 
Bartram at last " breaks away " from " the enchanting spot " 
he traverses a " capacious semi-circular cove of the lake, verged 
by low, extensive grassy meadows." Can we then fail to recog- 
nize the source of Coleridge's 

. . . gardens bright with sinuous rills, 
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree; 
And . . . forests ancient as the hills, 
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery (11. 8-11), 

or of his " green hill athwart a cedarn cover! " (1. 13) ? But 
Coleridge's wilderness-plot called for a fountain, for it was to 
be " green and jountainous." That too was supplied by Bar- 
tram. Six pages beyond the Isle of Palms description Coleridge 

I seated myself upon a swelling green knoll at the head of the 
chrystal bason. Near me, on the left, was a point or projection of an 
entire grove of the aromatic Illisium Floridanum; ... in front, just 
under my feet was the inchanting and amazing chrystal jountain. . . . 
(p. 165). 

When Coleridge writes that 

. . . from this chasm, tvith ceaseless turmoil seething, 
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, 
A mighty fountain momently was forced: 
Amid whose swift half -intermittent burst 
Huge fragmefits vaulted like rebounding hail. 
Or chajfy grain beneath the thresher's flail: 
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever 
// flung up momently the sacred river (U. 17-24), 


we know that he had read on in Bartram, for Bartram's chrystal 
fountain too 

incessantly threw up, from dark, rocky caverns below, tons of water 
every minute. . . . About twenty yards from the upper edge of the 
bason ... is d continual and amazing ebullition, where the waters are 
thrown up in such abundance and amazing force, as to jet and swell up 
two or three feet above the common surface: white sand and small 
particles of shells are thrown up with the waters (pp. 165-166). 

Moreover, Coleridge's sacred river ran " Five miles meander- 
ing. . . . Through wood and dale " then " reached the caverns. 
. . . And sank . . ." (11. 25-28) and the waters of Bartram's 
fountain form a creek which " meanders six miles through green 
meadows " and when these waters have " thrown up " they 
" diverge from the center, subside with the expanding flood, 
and gently sink again " (pp. 156-166) . 

Professor Lowes, Mr. E. H. Coleridge, and Dr. Bersch be- 
lieve that into this reworking of Bartram's chrystal fountain 
enter also descriptions of other fountains found in Bartram. 
On pages 239-40 there appears an account a trader gave Bar- 
tram of a visit to "" a very curious place, called the Alligator- 
Hole " (p. 238) : 

he saw the earth overflowed by torrents of water . . . attended with a 
terrific noise and tremor of the earth . . . he . . . soon came in sight of 
the incomparable fountain, and saw, with amazement, the floods rush- 
ing upwards many feet high, and the expanding waters. ... It con- 
tinued to jet and flow in this manner for several days, forming a large 
. . . river, descending and following the various . . . windings of the 
valley, for the distance of seven or eight miles, emptying itself into a 
vast savanna, where . . . was ... a sink which received ... its waters. 
... At places where ridges or a swelling bank . . . opposed its course 
and fury, are vast heaps of fragments of rocks, white chalk, stones 
and pebbles, which were . . . thrown into the lateral valleys. 

Just which of these descriptions, of the chrystal fountain or of 
the Alligator-Hole, suggested Coleridge's fountain is not easy 
to decide with absolute certainty; Professor Lowes's conclusion 
that in Coleridge's dream the images from both descriptions 
coalesced is a happy suggestion. But Bersch's addition of Bar- 
tram's description of " the admirable Manate Spring " cannot 
be overlooked: 



The ebullition is astonishing, and continual, though its greatest force 
or fury intermits, regularly, for the space of thirty seconds of time . . . 
the ebullition is perpendicular upwards, from a vast ragged orifice 
through a bed of rodcs . . . throwing up small particles or pieces of 
white shells, which subside with the waters, at the moment of inter- 
mission. ... (p. 231). 

The influence of Bartram on Coleridge was even greater than 
the preceding pages have indicated it to have been. One must 
repeat the words of an anonymous reviewer of Van Doren's 
Bartram: " Good water is left in the well, and indeed Coleridge 
took more than even the industry of Professor Lowes in his 
Xanadu has discovered." *^ Even more, one must add, than this 
summary has disclosed. Coleridge's interest in Bartram's Travels 
continued throughout his life. Twenty years after he had 
written " The Ancient Mariner," " Kubia Khan," and the other 
poems in which Bartram's influence has been traced, or to be 
precise, in 1818, Coleridge purchased a copy of the Travels.^^ 
Bartram came into his mind when, in the Biographia Literaria, 
he wished to describe Wordsworth, of whom he wrote: 

The following analogy will, I am apprehensive, appear dim and 
fantastic, but in reading Bartram's Travels I could not help transcribing 
the following lines as a sort of allegory, or connected simile and meta- 
phor of Wordsworth's intellect and genius. "" The soil is a deep, rich, 
dark mould, on a deep stratum of tenacious clay ; and that on a founda- 
tion of rocks, which often break through both strata, lifting their backs 
above the surface. The trees which chiefly grow here are the gigantic 
black oak; magnolia magni-floria; fraximus excelsior; platane; and a 
few stately tulip trees." *^ 

"The Saturday Review of Literature, April 21, 1928. 

^^ Poems, I, 460; Xanadu, p. 453. 

*^ II, 128-129. Ed. Shawcross. Coleridge evidently quoted from memory. The 
passage in Bartram's Travels reads: "The soil is a deep, rich, dark mould, on 
a deep stratum of reddish brown tenacious clay, and that on a foundation of 
rocks which often break through both strata, lifting their backs above the sur- 
face. The forest trees are chiefly of the deciduous order, as Quercus tinctoria, 
. . . Magnolia acuminata, Liriodendron, Platanus, Fraxinus excelsior . . ." 
(p. 36). " Magnolia magni-floria " is, as Professor Lowes has observed {Xanadu, 
p. 453), a faulty recollection of the magnolia grandiflora, mentioned by Bartram 
on pp. 29, 73, 169- And, it should be added, so are the names of the other 
trees mentioned by Coleridge, unless, to add another possibility, they may be 


In 1827 Bartram was still in Coleridge's mind, for on March 
12 of that year he remarked ^° that " the latest book of travels 
I know, written in the spirit of the old travellers, is Bartram' s 
account of his tour in the floridas." 

2. William Wordsworth 

Wordsworth's interest in travel literature was as keen as that 
of Coleridge. That he read widely in this type of literature has 
been proved in a series of articles by Professor Lane Cooper,^ 
who believes that Wordsworth " read . . . practically all voyages 
by land or sea that friends could place at his disposal." Dr. 
Lienemann in his monograph on Wordsworth's reading attrib- 
utes this interest of the Lake poet in books of travel to his gen- 
eral passion for traveling and wandering. " Wordsworth," he 
claims, '" regretted greatly that his means did not permit him in 
his younger years to undertake long journeys." ^ But whatever 
the cause may have been it is certain that Wordsworth " had at 
all times a passion for the literature of travel, and insisted on its 
value in widening his outlook and enriching his experience." ^ 
In a letter to James Tobin, written some months before the 
publication of Lyrical Ballads, he says: "If you could collect 
for me any books of travels you would render me an essential 
service, as without much of such reading my present labours 
cannot be brought to any conclusion." * The last part of the 

his translation and poetic transmutation of Bartram's scientific names: quercus 
tinctoria becoming " the gigantic black oak " and Liriodendron becoming '" a few 
stately tulip trees." 

■"^ Table Talk, p. 43. 

^ See especially " Wordsworth Sources," Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, pp. 498- 
500, and " A Glance at Wordsworth's Reading," Modern Language Notes, XXII, 
83-89, 110-117, reprinted in Methods and Aims in the Study of Literature, 1915, 
pp. 96-132. 

" K. Lienemann, Die Belesenheit von William Wordsworth, Berlin, 1908, p. 
166. The section devoted to " Reisebeschreibungen " (pp. 166-172) lists a great 
many travel books which Wordsworth read, among them (p. 169), "Travels 
through North and South Carolina by William Bertram [sic]." 

' The Prelude, edited by Ernest de Selincourt, Oxford, 1926, p. xxix. 

* Letters of the Wordsworth Family, I, 115. 


sentence points to the use which Wordsworth made of such 
reading; in this case it amounted to his absolute dependence 
upon it. Naturally, his poetry reflects this extensive reading of 
travel literature and it is therefore not surprising for Prof, de 
Selincourt to find that " the pages of The Prelude,'' for instance, 
" are studded with simile, metaphor, and allusion drawn from 
the narration of famous navigators, and explorers of unknown 
continents." ^ 

Exactly when Wordsworth read Bartram's Travels is un- 
known. Professor Cooper believes that the poet " became fam- 
iliar with Bartram ... at Alfoxden " ® and that " if he did not 
carry Bartram's Travels . . . with him to Germany, he must 
have had that entertaining journal almost by heart before he 
started." '^ The last statement is especially plausible, for it is 
in a note to " Ruth," written in Germany and published in 1800, 
that Wordsworth specifically refers to Bartram: " The splendid 
appearance of these scarlet flowers," he writes, explaining lines 
64-66, " which are scattered with such profusion over the Hills 
in the Southern parts of North America is frequently mentioned 
by Bartram in his Travels." ® However, there is no definite 
reason for assuming that Wordsworth could not have read 
Bartram before Alfoxden. The Palestinian and Syrian landscape 
of The Borderers (composed in 1795-6), like the landscape in 
Coleridge's " Wanderings of Cain," seems tinged with Bartram, 
and the pelican of the desert in III, 220 is very much the bird 
which, later, more elaborately comes out of Bartram into the 
third book of The Prelude. 

In spite of Wordsworth's own reference to Bartram, it was 
not until 1893 that a definite claim of an indebtedness to Bar- 
tram appears in an anonymous review of Dowden's Aldine 
edition of Wordsworth's poems.^ " It is not a little to be re- 
gretted," says the reviewer, '" that Wordsworth's references to 

" The Prelude, p. xxix. 

'Modern Language Notes, XXII, 113. 

'' Methods and Aims in the Study of Literature, p. 110. Wordsworth moved to 
Alfoxden in July, 1797, and left for Germany in September, 1798 (G. M. Harper, 
William Wordsworth, his Life, Works and Influences, I, 316, 362). 

' Poems, II, 108. 

"The Athenaeum, August 12, 1893, pp. 218-20. 


Bartram's ' Travels ' should have escaped Prof. Dowden's atten- 
tion. That fascinating book was a great favourite with both 
Coleridge and Wordsworth in Quantockian days, and traces of 
its picturesque descriptions are to be found in the poems of 
each. ' Ruth ' is saturated with Bartram." ^° The reviewer then 
points to the fourth, ninth and tenth stanzas in " Ruth." " 

Subsequent scholarship, however, has discovered a much 
greater indebtedness to the Travels than merely these three 
stanzas. " Ruth " is indeed " saturated with Bartram." Not 
only its images and diction are, to a large extent, derived from 
Bartram, but some of its philosophical implications regarding 
nature generally are colored by the Philadelphia Quaker's ideas. 
Beginning, then, with the fourth stanza, the influence of Bar- 
tram on " Ruth " can be traced with a measure of certainty. The 
" youth from Georgia's shore " wears a " military casque . . . 
With splendid feathers drest," a headgear worn by "' Micco 
Chlucco the Long Warrior, or King of the Siminoles," whose 
portrait is the frontispiece of the Travels. This headgear is fur- 
ther described by Bartram in another place: " A very curious 
diadem or band, about four inches broad, and ingeniously 
wrought or woven, and curiously decorated . . . encircles their 
temples, the front peak of which is embellished with a high 
waving plume, of crane or heron feathers " (pp. 501-2) . These 
are the same feathers that nod in the breeze and make " a gal- 
lant crest " in Wordsworth's poem. The youth himself, although 
Wordsworth tells us that he was not of Indian blood, that he 
" spake the English tongue. And bore a soldier's name " (stanza 
v) , is undoubtedly modeled upon Bartram's " young Orpheus ": 

The young mustee, who came with me to the Mucclasses from Mobile, 
having Chactaw blood in his veins from his mother, was a sensible 
young fellow, and by his father had been instructed in reading, writing 
and arithmetic, and could speak English very well. He took it into his 
head, to travel into the Chactaw country: his views were magnanimous, 
and his designs in the highest degree commendable, nothing less than 
to inform himself of every species of arts and sciences, that might be 

"■"Ibid., p. 219. 

^^ Professor Dowden later rectified his oversight by adding a note to the poem 
in his selected edition of Poems by William Wordsworth. Boston, 1897, pp. 


of use and advantage, when introduced into his own country, but more 
particularly music and poetry: with these views he privately left the 
Nation, went to Mobile, and there entered into the service of the trad- 
ing company to the Chactaws, as a white man ; his easy, communicative, 
active and familiar disposition and manners, being agreeable to that 
people, procured him access every where, and favored his subtilty and 
artifice. 12 

It is this youth, 

With hues of genius on his cheek 
In finest tones . . . could speak (stanza vi), 

Among the Indians . . . had fought. 

And with him many tales he brought 

Of pleasure and of fear; 

Such tales as told to any maid 

By such a Youth, in the green shade 

Were perilous to hear (stanza viii) . 

The tales that Wordsworth's " youth from Georgia's shore " 
tells Ruth do prove " perilous " to hear. Bartram's young 
mustee, too, pressed " to give out some of his new songs," com- 
plied with such success that " a young Chactaw slave girl in the 
circle . . . soon . . . discovered very affecting sensations of afflic- 
tion and distress of mind " (p. 507) . The girl, like Ruth, is an 
orphan. The general effect of the " doleful moral songs or ele- 
gies " of the Indians, says Bartram, is " quick and sensible . . . 
on their passions . . . ; a stranger is for a moment lost to him- 
self as it were, or his mind, associated with the person imme- 
diately affected, is in danger of revealing his own distress un- 
awares " (p. 508) . The story of " Ruth " may, of course, have 
been suggested to Wordsworth, as he said, "by an account I 
had of a wanderer in Somersetshire";^^ it may have been 
founded on fact, as De Quincey declared: " Wordsworth him- 
self told me, in general terms, that the case which suggested the 
poem was that of an American lady, whose husband forsook 
her at the very place of embarkation from England; under cir- 
cumstances and under expectations, upon her part, very much 

^^ P. 506. Quoted by Prof. Lane Cooper in The Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, 
p. 499. 

^' Fenwidc note, Poems, II, 104. 


the same as those o£ Ruth "; " but the "' hero " of the poem is 
Bartram's young half-breed. 

The imagery in the youth's tales frequently follows Bartram 
almost word for word. In stanza ix the youth tells of girls 

Who quit their fold with dance and shout, 

Their pleasant Indian town, 

To gather strawberries all day long; 

Returning with a choral song 

When daylight is gone down. 

Bartram records that, " towards evening, a company of Indian 
girls, inhabitants of a village in the hills at a small distance, 
called, having baskets of strawberries." ^^ Eighteen pages later 
he describes " a most enchanting view, a vast expanse of green 
meadows and strawberry fields " where " companies of young, 
innocent Cherokee^® virgins, some busily gathering the rich 
fragrant fruit, others having already filled their baskets, lay 
reclined under the shade of floriferous and fragrant native 
bowers of Magnolia . . . disclosing their beauties to the flutter- 
ing breeze . . . whilst other parties . . . were yet collecting straw- 
berries or wantonly chasing their companions, tantalizing them, 
staining their lips and cheeks with the rich fruit " (pp. 356-57) . 
Nor is " the choral song " hard to find in Bartram. Exactly two 
paragraphs before his description of the young mustee appears 
a description of Indian dances, at which " the girls clap hands, 
and raise their shrill sweet voices, . . . and perform an inter- 
lude or chorus separately " (pp. 505-506). 
The youth continues to speak 

of plants that hourly change 
Their blossoms, through a boundless range 
Of intermingling hues; 
With budding, fading, faded flowers 
They stand the wonder of the bowers 
From morn to evening dews (stanza x) . 

^* Descriptive Sketches, II, 305, ed. 1854. Quoted by Dowden in Poems by 
William Wordsworth, p. 379. 

^^ P. 349. This passage in Bartram has evidently thus far escaped the vigilance 
of commentators. 

^° It will be recalled that Wordsworth's youth brought his " splendid feathers " 
from the " Cherokees " (stanza iv). 


Here we recognize Bartram's Gordonia lasianthus, which in 
Coleridge's notebook got mixed with "" the never bloomiess 
furze." Of this plant Bartram writes: 

Its thick foliage, of a dark green colour, is flowered over with large 
milk-white fragrant blossoms, on long slender elastic peduncles, at the 
extremities of its numerous branches, from the bosom of the leaves, and 
renewed every morning. ... It at the same time continually pushes 
forth new twigs, with young buds on them; and in the winter and 
spring the third year's leaves, now partly concealed by the new and per- 
fect ones, are gradually changing colour, from green to golden yellow, 
from that to a scarlet, from scarlet to crimson. ... So that the Gordonia 
lasianthus may he said to change and renew its garments every morning 
. . . throughout the year; and every day appears with unfading lustre 
(pp. 161-162). 

In the next stanza the youth 

told of the magnolia, spread 
High as a cloud, high over head! 
The q'press and her spire; 
— Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam 
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem 
To set the hills on fire (stanza xi). 

Wordsworth himself explained in a footnote that by the " mag- 
nolia " he meant the " magnolia grandiflora." ^^ Of course, 
Bartram refers to this tree in numerous other places, and it is 
more plausible to assume that Wordsworth had in mind more 
descriptive references than the one pointed out by Professor 
Knight; such, for example, as these: " The Laurel Magnolias, 
which grow on this river, are the most beautiful and tall 
I have anywhere seen. . . . Their usual height is about one 
hundred feet, and some greatly exceed that " (pp. 85-86) . " The 
towering Magnolia, itself a grove " (p. 160) . Here is the source 
not only of Wordsworth's " magnolia " but of " spread High 
as a cloud, high over head! " The next line: " The cypress and 
her spire," enables us to discover an even closer indebtedness. 
Professor Knight traces Wordsworth's cypress to Bartram's 

^■^ Prof. Knight added to this footnote a reference to Bartram, p. 8. The page 
reference is probably a misprint, for in both the original Philadelphia edition 
and the London reprint, Bartram's reference to "" the great Laurel Tree (Magnolia 
grandiflora) " appears on page 6. 


The Cypressus disticha stands in the first order of North American trees. 
Its majestic stature, hfting its cumbrous top towards the skies, and cast- 
ing a wide shade upon the ground, as a dark intervening cloud, etc.^^ 

It is evident that "' the cumbrous top " of the q^press has become 
her " spire," and it is possible that the " dark intervening cloud " 
suggested the image about the magnolia " spread High as a 
cloud." For the last three lines of this stanza Wordsworth's 
own acknowledgement of an indebtedness to Bartram has al- 
ready been quoted. He, however, merely referred in a general 
way to the " scarlet flowers . . . mentioned by Bartram." Pro- 
fessor Knight added a note from Mr. Ernest Coleridge identify- 
ing Bartram as " the source from which Wordsworth derived 
his description of Georgian scenery in Ruth " {Poems, II, p. 
108) . It remained for Professor Lane Cooper to identify the 

flowers that with one scarlet gleam 
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem 
To set the hills on fire 

with Bartram's " fiery Azalea." 

The epithet fiery, I annex to this most celebrated species of Azalea, as 
being expressive of the appearance of it in flower, which are in general 
of the colour of the finest red lead, orange and bright gold, . . . the 
clusters of the blossoms cover the shrubs in such incredible profusion 
on the hill sides, that suddenly opening to view from dark shades, we 
are alarmed with the apprehension of the hills being set on fire?-^ 

In the next two stanzas 

The Youth of green savannahs spake, 
And many an endless, endless lake. 
With all its fairy crowds 
Of islands, that together lie 
As quietly as spots of sky 
Among the evening clouds. 

^* Poems, II, 107. The quotation is from page 90 of the Travels. Bartram 
uses the word " Cupressus " instead of "Cypressus"; Prof. Knight does not 
indicate that he has omitted part of the passage. 

" Travels, p. 323. Quoted by Lane Cooper in Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, 
p. 499. 


" How pleasant," then he said, " it were 

A fisher or a hunter there. 

In sunshine or in shade 

To wander with an easy mind; 

And build a household fire, and find 

A home in every glade! 

Professor Knight refers to a passage in Bartram which is the 
source of Wordsworth's "green savannahs," "endless lake" 
and " crowds of islands ": 

North and south almost endless green plains and meadows, embellished 
with islets and projecting promontories of high dark forests, where the 
pyramidal Magnolia grandiflora . . . conspicuously towers.^° 

But, as Professor Lowes has remarked, " the savannahs and the 
lakes of stanza 12 are everywhere" in Bartram,^^ and, further- 
more, both of these stanzas were " unmistakably suggested " by 
Bartram.^^ For Wordsworth's youth, life as a fisher or a hunter 
wandering "with an easy mind" in Bartram' s far-off country 
is as much of an ideal as for Coleridge's youth in Osorio who 
sang a " doleful song about green fields " and visualized " How 
sweet it were on lake or wild savannah to hunt for food . . . 
And wander up and down at Liberty." 

The enticing pictures that the youth goes on to paint to Ruth 
include her being his " helpmate in the woods " and her running, 

A sylvan huntress at my side. 

And drive the flying deer! (stanza xvi) 

The source of these lines is not included in Prof. Knight's notes, 
nor has any other scholar suggested it, yet Bartram' s descrip- 
tions of deer-hunting are so memorable that they could hardly 
have failed to flash upon Wordsworth's mind as he wrote this 
poem — so permeated with Bartram — and thought of what 
Ruth's life might be in the strange land of which he had read 
in Bartram. There is the hunting scene in the Alachua savanna, 

a level, green plain . . . encircled with high, sloping hills, covered with 
waving forests and fragrant Orange groves. . . . The towering Mag- 
nolia grandiflora and transcendent Palm, stand conspicuous amongst 
them. . . . Herds of sprightly deer . . . appearing happy and contented 

'"Travels, p. I4l; Poems, II, 108. '''Xanadu, p. 455. ''Ibid., p. 513. 


in the enjoyment of peace, till disturbed and affrighted by the warrior 
man. Behold yonder, coming upon them through the darkened groves 
. . . the naked red warrior, invading the Elysian fields and green plains 
of Alachua. . . . Suddenly they [the deer] speed off with their young 
in the centre; but the roebuck fears him not ... he bounds off, and 
in a few minutes distances his foe a mile . . . (pp. 187-88) . 

Several pages later there is another deer-hunting scene, in which 
" the princely buck, who headed the party," is killed, but "his 
affrighted followers at the instant, sprang off in every direction, 
streaming away like meteors or phantoms," and saved them- 
selves (pp. 200-201) . No wonder Wordsworth was convinced 
that Ruth would be won over by the youth's tales and 

With him to sail across the sea, 
And drive the flying deer (stanza xvii) . 

For her vision was upon " those lonesome floods. And green 
savannahs " and " the wild woods " (stanza xix). 

But a youth who had spent his past in roaming about 
" through savage lands . . . with vagrant bands of Indians in 
the West . . ." (stanza xx) was not to be trusted. The fact is 
that Wordsworth, unlike poor Ruth, distrusted the " Youth 
from Georgia's shore " from the very beginning. On this point 
Professor Cooper calls attention to " Wordsworth's ill-concealed 
dissatisfaction with a too languid or ' too gaudy region '. . . . 
Properly interpreted," he says, the stanza 

He told of the Magnolia spread 

High as a cloud, high overhead! 

The cypress and her spire; 

— Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam 

Cover a hundred leagues, and seem 

To set the hills on fire 

" discloses the sensuous vision of a character condemned by the 
poet — of the panther-like youth who has accepted a dangerous 
education from nature." ^^ The contention is convincing, especi- 
ally in view of stanzas xxi, xxii, and xxiii; 

*" The Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 499. The phrase " a too gaudy region " 
is Wordsworth's own — Prelude, III, 446. 


The wind, the tempest roaring high, 

The tumult of a tropic sky, 

Might well be dangerous food 

For him, a Youth to whom was given 

So much of earth — so much of heaven, 

And such impetous blood. 
Whatever in those climes he found 
Irregular in sight or sound 
Did to his mind impart 
A kindred impulse, seemed allied 
To his own powers, and justified 
The workings of his heart. 

Nor less, to feed voluptuous thought, 
The beauteous forms of nature wrought. 
Fair trees and gorgeous flowers; 
The breezes their own languor lent; 
The stars had feelings, which they sent 
Into those favored bowers. 

Professor Cooper goes so far as to " fanq^ that there is an im- 
plied censure of Bartram himself in some of the youth's attri- 
butes, since for all his scientific interests, this naturalist shows 
an undeniable predilection for 

Whatever in those climes he found 
Irregular in sight or sound." 

Yet the censure could not have been a severe one, for in the 
next stanza Wordsworth admits that in the youth's 

worst pursuit I ween 
That sometimes there did intervene 
Pure hopes of high intent: 
For passions linked to forms so fair 
And stately, needs must have their share 
Of noble sentiment (stanza xxiv). 

It has been said that Wordsworth's debt to Bartram is not 
confined exclusively to scenery and diction. There are other 
and more subtle influences which he owes to the Travels. Even 
when the American youth apparently speaks of England, 

" Before me shone a glorious world — 
Fresh as a banner bright, unfurled 
To music suddenly: 


I looked upon those hills and plains, 
And seemed as if let loose from chains, 
To live at liberty" (stanza xxix), 

he, along with Wordsworth, is still thinking of Bartram's coun- 
try. The compliment which Professor Lowes pays to Words- 
worth for these lines is at the same time a compliment to the 
Philadelphia botanist: " Nobody ever put the romance of discov- 
ery more magnificently into words than Wordsworth, in a poem 
shot through with reminiscences of William Bartram's glowing 
delineations of strange beauty." -* The spirit of Bartram, no 
less than his diction and imagery, permeates this poem. And, in 
spite of Wordsworth's implied disapproval of Bartram's predi- 
lection for the "" irregular " in " a too gaudy region," not a little 
of the Quaker traveler's philosophy creeps into the poem. To 
Professor Cooper the lines. 

The engines of her pain, the tools 
That shaped her sorrow, rocks and pools. 
And airs that gently stir 
The vernal leaves — (stanza xxxix) 

" betray a philosophy not wholly foreign to Bartram's notion of 
an immanent spirit penetrating all the individual mechanisms 
of nature." ^° The fact that this philosophy is also reflected, in 
more convincing forms, in other poems by Wordsworth, sup- 
ports this view. 

But Wordsworth's philosophical colorings from Bartram will 
have to wait a while. It has been shown that the scenery and 
imagery of Bartram are everywhere in " Ruth "; so are they in 
many other of Wordsworth's poems. It can be said of Words- 
worth, even with greater accuracy than of Coleridge, that he 
had a tenacious memory. The Prelude is proof enough. Impres- 
sions of childhood, of people met, of books read, of remarks 
overheard — all was retained and came out of the imaginative 
repository when the creative need urged. Professor Cooper has 
pointed out an instance where an impression from Bartram 
seems to have lain dormant in the poet's mind for something 
like five years, awaiting utilization. " It had become," he com- 

**■ Xanadu, p. 3l4. "Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 500. 


merits, " an assimilated experience, and was in the nature of a 
purified emotion, " recollected in tranquillity.' " ^^ Another in- 
stance may be added of an impression which Wordsworth seems 
to have retained for a much longer period. The " gallant crest " 
of " splendid feathers " which the youth in " Ruth " wears, and 
which Wordsworth remembered from Bartram's frontispiece 
and the description of " a waving plume, of crane or heron 
feathers," waves again, ten years after the composition of 
" Ruth," in " Hoffer," where we are told about the Tyrolese 
hero that 

upon his head, 
That simple crest, a heron's plume, is worn (7-8). 

Other images that lingered in Wordsworth's mind are more 
difficult to relate to their sources. Are the " green savannahs " 
of " Ruth " — unmistakably from Bartram — and the " wide sa- 
vannah " of The Excursion (III, 938) one and the same thing? 
The latter phrase appears in a passage that in almost every line 
suggests Bartram. It pictures regions 

Whose shades have never felt the encroaching axe, 

. . . There, Man abides 
Primeval Nature's child . . . 
. . . contemplations . . . 

His independence, when along the side 
Of Mississippi, or that northern stream 
That spreads into successive seas, he walks, 
Pleased to perceive his own unshackled life, 
And his innate capacities of soul, 
There imaged: or when, having gained the top 
Of some commanding eminence, which yet 
Intruder ne'er beheld, he thence surveys 
Regions of wood and wide savannah, vast 
Expanse of unappropriated earth, 
IF/V^ mi7id that sheds a light on what he sees; 
Free as the sun . . . 

Pouring above his head its radiance down 
Upon a living and rejoicing world! (Ill, 915-943) 

*' Modern Language Notes, XXII, 113. In Methods and Aims in the Study of 
Literature, p. 120, Prof. Cooper changes " seems to have Iain " to the more 
cautious " may have lain." 


Wordsworth had read many travel books picturing unpopulated 
American regions, and it is not wise to be definite as to which 
was the source of a particular passage in such an ambitious 
poem as The Excursion. It is more certain that frequently they 
all united in his mind to form a composite impression of 
America, so that it is not at all strange to find the Mississippi 
and the St. Lawrence (" that northern stream That spreads into 
successive seas ") merged in the same passage. However, that 
a good deal of Bartram has crept into these lines is a not unrea- 
sonable hypothesis. Bartram's road to the Mississippi is " under 
the shadow of a grand forest " (p. 427) . He stands on the 
banks of the river " fascinated " by its " magnifiscence," survey- 
ing " the flood, the trees, high forests," and all " objects," 
which, he tells us, " all unite ... in exhibiting a prospect of 
the grand sublime " (pp. 427-28) . It is clear that Bartram saw 
not only with his eyes but also " With mind that sheds a light 
on what he sees." ^^ 

But the parallelism is even more striking and the hypothesis 
that Wordsworth remembered his Bartram when he wrote this 
passage is even more justifiable. Bartram's famous Altamaha 
piece contains a paragraph which Wordsworth could not have 

Thus secure and tranquil, and meditating on the marvellous scene 
of primitive nature, as yet unmodified by the hand of man, I gently 
descended the peaceful stream, on whose polished surface were de- 
picted the mutable shadows from its pensile banks (p. 49). 

It will be recalled that, in " Ruth," Wordsworth used the 
" Tamaha," and it is certain that Bartram's " solitary wood- 
pelican, perched upon the utmost elevated spire " of " yon . . . 

^■^ Compare also with a passage in an early draft of Book VIII of The Prelude. 

In MS. Y Wordsworth writes: 

Or like an Indian, when, in solitude 
And individual glory, he looks out 
From some high eminence upon a tr(act) 
Boundless of unappropriated earth (208-211). 

For an explanation of MS. Y see De Selincourt's edition of The Prelude, p. xxiv; 

the lines quoted are from p. 558 of the same volume. 


defoliated Cypress tree" (p. 49), was transplanted into The 

the pelican 
Upon the cypress spire in lonely thought (III, 442-43). 

Surely Wordsworth read the next paragraph and noted the 
" marvellous scenes of primitive nature . . . unmodified by the 
hand of man " and the water that " depicted." In his mind, Bar- 
tram himself amid these surroundings leading " an unshackled 
life " could not have been separable from these images. The 
tribute to the sun at the end of the passage may have come from 
Bartram's very next sentence: " The glorious sovereign of day, 
clothed in light refulgent, rolling in his gilded chariot . . ." 
(p. 49). 

All this, however, does not exclude the possibility of echoes 
from other sources. The next six lines afford an illustration: 

So, westward, tow'rd the unviolated woods 

I bent my way; and, roaming far and wide, 

Failed not to greet the merry Mocking-bird; 

And, while the melancholy Muccawiss 

(The sportive bird's companion in the grove) 

Repeated, O'er and o'er, his plaintive cry (III, 944-49) . 

Professor Knight prints convincing evidence to prove that the 
" merry mocking-bird " may have come out of Ashe and that 
the " Muccawiss " is another name for the whip-poor-will and 
almost definitely came out of Carver.^^ 

Nevertheless, having in mind this possibility of other sources 
complicating our study, one is struck by another passage in The 
Excursion which invites a reperusal of Bartram. 

Here closed the Sage that eloquent harangue. 
Poured forth with fervour in continuous stream. 
Such as, remote, 'mid savage wilderness. 
An Indian Chief discharges from his breast 
Into the hearing of assembled tribes. 
In open circle seated round . . . (IV, 1275-80). 

^^ Poems, V, 141-142; 393-396. The books referred to are Travels in America 
by Thomas Ashe, London, 1808, and Travels in North America by Jonathan 
Carver, London, 1778. 


There are at least two places in the Travels which could have 
suggested this picture of the Sage " whom time and nature had 
made wise " (1287) delivering an '" eloquent harangue " like an 
Indian chief before the " assembled tribes, In open circle round." 
Bartram narrates: 

... we took our seats in a circle of venerable men, round a fire in the 
centre of the area. ... I was struck with awe and veneration at the 
appearance of a very aged man . . . the whole circle saluted him . . . 
(p. 499). 

And again: 

The people being assembled and seated in order, . . . the ball opens, 
first with a long harangue . . . spoken by an aged chief. . . . This 
oration was delivered with great spirit and eloquence ... (p. 369) . 

The coalescing of images in a poet's mind is so natural as to 
need no discussion. Here not only two Indian assemblies be- 
come one and Wordsworth's Wanderer assumes, for a moment, 
the lineaments of Bartram' s aged chief, but England itself for 
the moment merges into the remote wilderness which flashes up 
in Wordsworth's mind. 

The phenomenon happens again in The Prelude. The poet, 
writing of the time 

when rock and hill, 
The woods, and distant Skiddaw's lofty height, 
Were bronzed with deepest radiance, 

and he " stood alone Beneath the sky," suddenly sees himself 

as if I had been born 
On Indian plains, and from my mother's hut 
Had run abroad in wantonness, to sport 
A naked savage, in the thunder shower (I, 294-300). 

The diction here is much too general to be traced to Bartram or 
to any other particular source. Yet it is easy to see that Bartram 
must have contributed his share in fixing within Wordsworth's 
mind the image of " Indian plains," which are only the " green 
savannahs " of " Ruth." That Bartram did come to his mind 
during the composition of The Prelude is evident from other 
passages in this most ambitious of Wordsworth's poems. We 


have seen that the pelican, which first appears in The Borderers, 
reappears in The Prelude in a context which points definitely 
to Bartram as its source. The passage deserves attention for 
more than its borrowing of an exotic bird from Bartram. Here 
Wordsworth, displeased with the Cambridge of his time, imag- 
ines the surroundings of a contrasting seat of learning: 

Oh, what joy 
To see a sanctuary for our country's youth 
Informed with such a spirit as might be 
Its own protection; a primeval grove, 
Where, though the shades of cheerfulness were filled. 
Nor indigent of songs warbled from crowds 
In under-coverts, yet the countenance 
Of the whole place should bear a stamp of awe ; 
A habitation sober and demure 
For ruminating creatures; a domain 
For quiet things to wander in; a haunt 
In which the heron should delight to feed 
By the shy rivers, and the pelican 
Upon the cypress spire in lonely thought 
Might sit and sun himself (III, 430-444) . 

" The whole passage," remarks Professor Cooper," — ruminat- 
ing creatures, pelican, cypress spire, and all — is a remarkable 
adaptation of a scene depicted by the Quaker botanist, William 
Bartram, on the banks of the Altamaha, in Georgia." ^® 

The scene to which Professor Cooper refers is, of course, the 
same Altamaha piece which has been discussed in connection 
with The Excursion and from which a paragraph has been 
quoted. Other portions are: 

I ascended this beautiful river, on whose fruitful banks the generous 
and true sons of liberty securely dwell, fifty miles above the white 
settlements. . . . My progress was rendered delightful by the sylvan 
elegance of the groves, chearful meadows, and high distant forests, 
which in grand order presented themselves to view. The winding banks 
of the river, and the high projecting promontories, unfolded fresh 
scenes of grandeur and sublimity. The deep forests and distant hills 
re-echoed the chearing social lowings of domestic herds. The air was 
filled with the loud and shrill whooping of the wary sharp-sighted 
crane. Behold, on yon decayed, defoliated Cypress tree, the solitary 

"Modern Language Notes, XXII, 112. 


wood-pelican, dejectedly perched upon its utmost elevated spire; he 
there, like an ancient venerable sage, sets himself up as a mark of 
derision, for the safety of his kindred tribes (pp. 48-49) . 

As regards the pelican, Bartram, in another place, has a more 
detailed description of this bird which may have helped to 
strengthen Wordsworth's image. After describing the size, 
shape, color, and feeding habits of the bird, Bartram continues: 

This solitary bird does not associate in flocks, but is generally seen 
alone; ... he stands alone on the topmost limb of tall dead Cypress 
trees, his neck contracted or drawn in upon his shoulders, and beak 
resting like a long scythe upon his breast: in this pensive posture and 
solitary situation, they look extremely grave, sorrowful and melancholy, 
as if in the deepest thought (p. 150). 

And as regards Wordsworth's " warbled from crowds In under- 
coverts," Professor Cooper quotes ^° Bartram's 

At the cool eve's approach, the sweet enchanting melody of the 
feathered songsters gradually ceases, and they betake themselves to 
their leafy coverts for security and repose (pp. 81-82), 

and calls attention to pp. 105-106 (" The squadrons of aquatic 
fowls, . . . hastening to their leafy coverts ... I was lulled asleep 
by the mixed sounds of the wearied surf . . . and the tender 
warblings of the . . . winged inhabitants of the groves ") . An- 
other passage Professor Cooper quotes is the one about the 
small birds appearing suddenly in Pennsylvania, in the spring; 
this has already been quoted in connection with Coleridge's 
" Ancient Mariner." 

Again Professor Cooper detects in Wordsworth a dissatis- 
faction with Bartram's " excessive richness of sub-tropical life 
and colour." ^^ He points out that Wordsworth in adapting the 
Altamaha piece omitted all the scented blossoms and " incense- 
bearing " trees with which Bartram's landscape is adorned, and 
that when he turns from the ideal back to the existing university 
his method of disparagement implies a disapproval of Bartram's 
landscape as well: 

In vain for such solemnity I looked; 

Mine eyes were crossed by butterflies, ears vexed 

•" Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 499. " Ibid. 


By chattering popinjays; the inner heart 
Seemed trivial, and the impresses without 
Of a too gaudy region (III, 445-449). 

Butterflies and popinjays are to be found in Bartram in several 
places. Furthermore, Wordsworth's self-criticism is couched in 
images derived from Bartram. Thus he recalls the time when 

The memory languidly revolved, the heart 
Reposed in noontide rest, the inner pulse 
Of contemplation almost failed to beat. 
Such life might not inaptly be compared 
To a floating island, an amphibious spot 
Unsound, of spongy texture, yet withal 
Not wanting a fair face of water weeds 
And pleasant flowers. (Ill, 332-339) 

The self-criticism, as Professor Herford points out, is even 
stronger in the earlier text: 

Rotted as by a charm, my life became 

A floating island, an amphibious thing, etc.^^ 

The image of a " floating island " is undoubtedly derived from 
Wordsworth's observation of the lakes. In his Guide he writes: 

There occasionally appears above the surface of Derwentwater, and al- 
ways in the same place, a considerable tract of spongy ground covered 
with aquatic plants, which is called the Floating, but with more pro- 
priet}' might be named the Buoyant, Island; and, on one of the pools 
near the lake of Esthwaite, may sometimes be seen a mossy Islet, with 
trees upon it, shifting about before the wind, a lusus naturae frequent 
on the great rivers of America. . . .^^ 

But it will be noted, in the last line, that a reminiscence from 
Bartram has floated into Wordsworth's mind and combined 
with his own observation. The lusus naturae on the rivers of 
America is Bartram's Vtstia stratiotes which " associates in large 
communities, or floating islands" (p. 88). The image came 
back to him once again in The Excursion: "... the little float- 

"Ll. 339-40, 1805-6 (De Selincourt). See C. H. Herford, Wordsworth. 
London, 1930, p. 24. 

^^ Guide to the Lakes, Fifth Edition (De Selincourt), p. 38. In this con- 
nection also see Dorothy Wordsworth's poem "" Floating Island " {Poems, VIII, 


ing isles . . . beautiful ... by Nature charged With the same 
pensive office " (III, 979-80) . The " spongy texture, yet withal 
Not wanting a fair face of water weeds And pleasant flowers " 
in The Prelude and " the considerable tract of spongy ground 
covered with aquatic plants ... a mossy Islet . . . shifting about 
before the wind " invite another quotation from Bartram: 

a very singular aquatic plant . . . communities, or floating islands . . . 
a quarter of a mile in extent . . . impelled to and fro as the wind and 
current may direct. ... In great storms of wind and rain . . . large 
masses of these floating plains are broken loose, and driven from the 
shores, into the wide water, where they have the appearance of islets 
... in order to enliven the delusion and form a most picturesque 
appearance, we see not only flowery plants . . . old weather-beaten trees 
. . . with the long moss waving from their snags . . . (88-89) . 

The " fair face of water weeds " in line 338 recalls Bartram's 
" in short, these dark, loathsome waters . . . seem to be a . . . 
tincture of the leaves of trees, herbs and reeds, arising from the 
shores, and which almost overspread them, and float on the sur- 
face, insomuch that a great part of these stagnate rivers, during 
the summer and autumnal seasons, are constrained to pass under 
a load of grass and weeds " (p. 426) . 

The word " pulse " in the phrase, " the inner pulse of con- 
templation " (II, 333), Professor Cooper points out, " is com- 
mon to both Bartram and Wordsworth," ^* and Dowden has 
annotated the line "' The very pulse of the machine " in Words- 
worth's " She Was a Phantom of Delight " with a reference to 
Bartram. " It may be worth noting," says Dowden, " that a like 
collocation occurs in Bartram: ' At the return of the morning, 
by the powerful influence of light, the pulse of nature becomes 
more active, and the universal vibration of life insensibly and 
irresistibly moves the wondrous machine.' " ^^ 

The phrase " Reposed in noontide rest " (Prelude, III, 332- 
33) reminds Professor Cooper ^^ of a similar self-criticism con- 

»* Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 499. 

"^ Edward Dowden, "" Notes on Wordsworth," The Athenaeum, February 24, 
1894, p. 246; Poems by William Wordsworth. Boston (Athenaeum Press), 1897, 
p. 435. The quotation from the Travels is from p. 179- 

=' Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 499. 


tained in Wordsworth's " Stanzas written in my Pocket-Copy 
of Thomson's ' Castle of Indolence ' ": 

Retired in that sunshiny shade he lay; 

And, like a naked Indian, slept himself away (26-27). 

These lines suggest to Professor Cooper a passage in Bartram: 

How happily situated is this retired spot of earth! What an elisium 
it is! where the wandering Siminole, the naked red warrior, roams at 
large, and after the vigorous chase retires from the scorching heat of 
the meridian sun. Here he reclines, and reposes under the odoriferous 
shades of Zanthoxilon, whilst the balmy zephyrs fan him to sleep 
(p. 107). 

A similar scene is described in another place, with Bartram him- 
self as the subject. '" And now being weary and drowsy," he 
writes, " I was induced to indulge and listen to the dictates of 
reason and invitations to repose, which consenting to, after 
securing my boat and reconnoitering the ground, I spread my 
blanket under the Oaks near my boat, on which I extended my- 
self, where, falling to sleep, I instantaneously passed away the 
sultry hours of noon, what a blissful tranquil repose! " (p. 137) . 
There can be no doubt that the numerous similarities in dic- 
tion and collocations in Wordsworth and Bartram are more than 
mere coincidences. In poems such as " Ruth " and in some in- 
stances in The Excursion and The Prelude the parallelisms prove 
an actual indebtedness, and though this cannot be claimed as 
definitely in all instances, the similarities are striking enough to 
merit attention. Besides diction and imagery Wordsworth bor- 
rowed from the reading of travel literature a coloring which 
often creeps into even his most English of poems. The word 
" Indian," for example, is used in one form or another no less 
than thirty times." We have already noticed the Indian chief 
in The Excursion (IV, 1278), the Indian plains in The Prelude 
(I, 298) and the naked Indian in " Stanzas written in my Pocket- 
Copy of Thomson's ' Castle of Indolence.' " ^^ Other illustra- 
tions of the use he makes of this image in The Prelude may 
be cited: 

*' See A Concordance to the Poems of William Wordsworth, edited by Lane 
Cooper. London, 1911. 

"Cf. ""The naked Indian of the wild" (""Presentiments," 34). 


With Indian awe and wonder (VI, 121) 

Sown like tents 
Or Indian cabins . . . (VI, 521-22) 

from remote 
America, the Hunter-Indian . . . (VII, 225-26) 

. . . painted Indians (VII, 707) 
Think, how the everlasting streams and woods. 
Stretched and still stretching far and wide, exalt 
The roving Indian, on his desert sands: (VII, 745-47) 
Induced by sleeping nightly on the ground 
Within his sod-built cabin, Indian wise (VIII, 439-40) 

Mention has been made of Wordsworth's use of Bartram's 
pelican and warbling " crowds in under-coverts " — and, inci- 
dentally, of Ashe's mocking-bird and Carver's whippoorwill. In 
The Recluse appears a description of the flight of waterfowl, a 
passage of twenty-seven lines which were first published under 
the title " Water-Fowl " in 1827 and were reprinted in the fifth 
edition of the Guide through the District of the Lakes: ^® 

Behold, how with a grace 
Of ceaseless motion, that might scarcely seem 
Inferior to angelical, they prolong 
Their curious pastime, shaping in mid air, 
And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars 
High as the level of the mountain tops, 
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath, 
Their own domaiyi; — but ever, while intent 
On tracing and retracing that large round. 
Their jubilant activity evolves 
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro. 
Upwards and downwards, progress intricate 
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed 
Their indefatigable flight. Tis done — 
Ten times and more, I fancied it had ceased; 
But lo! the vanished company again 
Ascending, they approach — I hear their wings 
Faint, faint at first ; and then an eager sound 
Passed in a moment — and as faint again ! 
They tempt the sun to sport among their plumes; 
Tempt the smooth water, or the gleaming ice, 
To show them a fair image; 'tis themselves, 
Their own fair forms, upon the glimmering plain, 

" Poems, VIII, 243. 


Painted more soft and fair as they descend 
Almost to touch; — then up again aloft, 
Up with a sally, and a flash of speed, 
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest! 

{Recluse, I, 203-229) 

" If," says Professor Cooper, "it is connected with something 
similar in Bartram, [this passage] well exemplifies the poet's 
complete mastery in adapting an artistic source." *° Such a con- 
nection is not implausible ; the passage which Professor Cooper 
cites and the other passages to which he refers provide interest- 
ing parallels in diction and in general atmosphere with Words- 
worth's lines. For purposes of comparison striking similarities in 
both authors have been italicized, and for the same reason the 
quotation from Wordsworth needs to be enlarged by including 
the six lines immediately preceding those already quoted. They 

. . . like them 

I cannot take possession of the sky. 

Mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there. 

One of a mighty multitude, whose way 

Is a perpetual harmony, and dance 


Now Bartram, as has been shown, was fascinated by the flight 
of birds and his pages contain many descriptions that Words- 
worth may have remembered: 

Behold the loud, sonorous, watchful savanna crane . . . with musical 
clangor, in detached squadrons. They spread their light elastic sail; 
at first they move from the earth heavy and slow, they labour and beat 
the dense air: they form the line with wide extended wings . . . they 
all rise and fall together as one bird; now they mount aloft, gradually 
wheeling about, each squadron performs its evolution, incircling the 
expansive plain, observing each one their own orbit; then lowering 
sail, descend on the verge of some glittering lake, whilst other squad- 
rons, ascending aloft in spiral circles . . . wheel round and double 
the promontory, in the silvery regions of the clouded skies, where, far 
from the scope of the eye, they carefully observe the verdant meadows 
on the borders of the East Lake ; then contract their plumes and descend 
to earth ... (p. 146-147). 

" Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 499. 


Coleridge, we have seen, remembered this passage, and its gen- 
eral similarity to Wordsworth's lines is striking. But other quo- 
tations amplify this similarity. For instance: 

It is a pleasing sight at times of high winds and heavy thunder, to 
observe the numerous squadrons of these Spanish curlews driving to 
and fro, turning and tacking about, high up in the air, when by their 
various evolutions in the different and opposite currents of the wind 
. . . their plumage gleams and sparkles . . . reflecting the sunbeams . . . 
(p. 149). 

This is the paragraph just preceding the one from which Words- 
worth drew his wood-pelican sitting on his cypress spire. But 
still another passage, again about the savanna crane, may have 
contributed to the picture in Wordsworth's mind: 

The sonorous savanna crane, in well disciplined squadrons, now rising 
from the earth, mount aloft in spiral circles, far above the dense 
atmosphere of the humid plain; they again view the glorious sun, and 
the light of day still gleaming on their polished feathers, they sing 
their hymn, then in a strait line majestically descend, and alight on 
the towering Palms or loftj' Pines, their secure and peaceful lodging 
places ... (p. 190). 

Furthermore, it is to be noted that in the Guide to the hakes 
these twenty-seven lines appear on page 37, one page before 
the description of the floating islands — " a lusus naturae fre- 
quent on the great rivers of America " — which has already 
been discussed. 

The resemblances of Coleridge's owls to Bartram's have been 
noted. In Wordsworth, too, owls hoot. His boy of Winander 

Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls, 
That they might answer him; and they would shout 
Across the watery vale, and shout again. 
Responsive to his call, with quivering peals, 
And long halloos and screams, and echoes loud, 
Redoubled and redoubled . . . {Prelude, V, 373-78) 

" Is it pure coincidence," asks Professor Cooper, " that Bartram 
employs similar diction for the same bird 7 — 

I was awakened and greatly surprised by the terrifying screams of 
Owls . . screaming and shouting, which increased and spread every 


way for miles around, in dreadful peals vibrating through the dark 
extensive forests, meadows and lakes." — ^P, 135.*^ 

The query becomes even more pertinent when it is remembered 
that Wordsworth's lines were written in Germany in 1799,*^ 
where Wordsworth wrote " Ruth," a poem " saturated with 
Bartram." One is tempted to add the owls in Ecclesiastical Son- 
nets, especially because of the atmospheric context in which they 
are usually placed, to the query of coincidence. In I, xxii Words- 
worth dreams of a hermitage: 

— to some dry nook 
Scooped out of living rock, and near a brook 
Hurled down a mountain-cove from stage to stage. 
Yet tempering, for my sight, its bustling rage 
In the soft heaven of a translucent pool ; 
Thence creeping under sylvan arches cool. 
Fit haunt of shapes whose glorious equipage ' 
Would elevate my dreams . . . 
Crisp, yellow leaves my bed ; the hooting owl 
My night-watch . . . 

This may be a place in the Lake country, but its coloring is 
strongly reminiscent of Bartram's region. One again sees Bar- 
tram asleep in his retreat by the river while the owls scream 
(p. 135) . In sonnet II, xxi Wordsworth writes of " The owl of 
evening and the woodland fox," a collocation reminiscent of 
Bartram's owl whooping to the wolves below. Another owl 
appears in "A Morning Exercise," this time not far from 
" naked Indians": 

and when the owl 
Tries his two voices for a favourite strain — 
Tu-whit — Tu-whoo\ the unsuspecting fowl 
Forebodes mishap or seems but to complain; 

Through border wilds where naked Indians stray. 
Myriads of notes attest her subtle skill; 
A feathered task- master cries, "Work away! " 
And, in thy iteration, " WHIP POOR WILL! "... 

(LI. 7-16) 

Ibid., p. 500. ■ Poems, II, 57. 


There can be no question that both the owl and the whippoor- 
will, as well as the naked Indians, came out of a book of travels. 
Wordsworth himself appended a note next to the whippoorwill: 
'" See Waterton's Wanderings in South America^' ^^ but we have 
already noted the whippoorwill in a much earlier poem and 
supposedly coming out of Carver's Travels. 

Wordsworth's indebtedness to Bartram is certain in cases 
where his adaptation has not obscured the source. It is less sus- 
ceptible to proof in other cases, but it is reasonable to assume 
that even there such an indebtedness exists. A book which left 
such vivid impressions that they crept, sometimes bodily, into 
such personal poems as The Vr elude, The Recluse, and The 
Excursion could not help coloring much of his other work. Even 
if the coloring is a composite one, Bartram contributed his share. 
When Wordsworth writes: 

— Ye have seen 
The Indian's bow, his arrows keen, 
Rare beasts, and birds with plumage bright 

("The Blind Highland Boy," 106-108), 

we know that he has retained impressions from his reading of 
books on America, particularly when he tells us in a note that 
he took a suggestion for the story of the poem from Dampier's 
Voyages.** But suggestions from Dampier do not exclude the 
possibility of coalescing impressions from Bartram where long 
before he had found " Rare beasts, and birds with plumage 
bright." Bartram may just as plausibly have suggested, or 
helped to suggest, such a picture as this: 

— Hadst thou been of Indian birth, 
Couched on a casual bed of moss and leaves, 
And rudely canopied by leafy boughs, 
Or to the churlish elements exposed 

** Poems, VII, 179. The book referred to is Charles Waterton's Wanderings 
in South America, the North-west of the United States and the Antilles. London, 


'■'■Poems, II, 430. The work referred to is A New Voyage round the world. 
Describing particularly the isthmus of America, etc. By Captain William Dampier. 
London, 1703-09. 


On the blank plains, — the coldness of the night, 
Or the night's darkness, or its cheerful face 
Of beauty, by the changing moon adorned, 
Would, with imperious admonition, then 
Have scored thine age . . . 

(" Address to My Infant Daughter Dora," 18-26). 

All the elements in this picture are to be found in Bartram, even 
the " churlish elements " ( Bartram' s memorable storms) and 
the " changing moon " (which undergoes a sudden eclipse on 
p. 51, just four paragraphs after the description of the pelican, 
which Wordsworth certainly read and used) . In Bartram also 
is to be found the 

, . . Indian conjurer 
Quick ... in feats of art 

("The Kitten and Falling Leaves," 30-31) 

Two pages before his description of the Indian headdress, a 
description which Wordsworth utilized in "' Ruth," Bartram 
presents the " high priest, usually called by the white people . . . 
conjurers " (p. 497). 

It has been stated that Bartram' s philosophy, no less than his 
imagery, is often discernible in Wordsworth. Beginning with 
"Ruth," where Bartram' s notion of an immanent spirit pene- 
trating the mechanisms of nature is echoed, we realize in many 
other poems that, in the words of Professor Cooper, " Words- 
worth's ' pantheism ' is more likely to have come from the 
Travels than from other sources sometimes advanced." *^ Such 
a doctrine as that 

Matter and Spirit are as one Machine 
("Stanzas Suggested ... Off St. Bees' Heads," 157) 

is, again in Professor Cooper's words, " wholly in keeping with 
the creed in the Travels." A typical expression of this creed is 
found in the Introduction: 

If then the visible, the mechanical part of the animal creation, the 
mere material part is so admirably beautiful, harmonious and incom- 
prehensible, what must be the intellectual system, that inexpressibly 
more essential principle, which secretly operates within.? that which 

^^ Athenaeum, April 22, 1905, p. 500. 


animates the inimitable machines, which gives them motion, impowers 
them to speak and perform, this must be divine indeed? (Travels, 
xxiv, XXV ) . 

The truth is that, in spite of an occasional implication of dis- 
approval, Wordsworth found himself kin to the gentle Quaker, 
wandering in the woods, along rivers and lakes, untrodden 
ways, watching Indians and traders (Wordsworth's " pedlars "), 
picking plants, and loving and contemplating all nature. There 
can be no doubt that " Wordsworth's imaginative acceptance of 
Bartram is in the long run sympathetic, as is shown by the fre- 
quency with which scenery and diction from the ' Travels ' rise 
to the surface in his purest and most characteristic poetry." *^ 
If Wordsworth, according to his latest biographer, " could paint 
with power the exotic splendour of the Indian forest," *^ there 
was a good reason: Bartram's Travels. Nor can there be any 
doubt as to Wordsworth's philosophical acceptance of Bartram. 
It is not surprising to find him telling us, in his Fenwick note to 
" Expostulation and Reply " — surely a poem characteristic of 
his attitude towards nature — that " This poem is a favourite 
among the Quakers, as I have learned on many occasions." *® 
William Bartram, the Philadelphia Quaker, if asked the same 

Why, William, sit you thus alone. 

And dream your time away.-* 

would have answered with the same sentiments if not in exactly 
the same words: 

The eye — it cannot choose but see; 
We cannot bid the ear be still; 
Our bodies feel, where'er they be, 
Against or with our will. 

Nor less I deem that there are Powers 
Which of themselves our minds impress; 
That we can feed this mind of ours 
In a wise passiveness. 

" Ibid., p. 499. 

*' C. H. Herford, Wordsworth, p. 118. 

" Poems, I, 272. 


If Bartram seems to have been too active for the last line to 
apply to him, his activity consisted entirely in seeing and " listen- 
ing " to Nature. And there were many occasions when he sat 
in his canoe or under a tree and permitted the " Powers " to 
feed his mind. Finally, every page of Bartram expresses the call 
in Wordsworth's sequel to the poem: 

Come forth into the light of things, 

Let Nature be your Teacher (" The Tables Turned," 15-16) . 

Come forth, and bring with you a heart 
That watches and receives (31-32). 

3. Other English Writers 

It is obvious that a book which exerted so strong an influence 
upon the imagination of such important poets as Coleridge and 
Wordsworth came to the attention of other English writers. As 
a matter of fact, there is enough evidence pointing to Bartram' s 
influence on most of the Romantic poets of the late eighteenth 
and early nineteenth centuries. Echoes of Bartram seem to recur 
even in late Victorian literature. The present study cannot hope 
to work out all the details of such an indebtedness. Further 
research is needed, the results of which will, it is hoped, make 
a supplementary study. As a basis for such an investigation cer- 
tain materials, accumulated in connection with this study, need 
be set down here: 

Dorothy Wordsworth: 

There is no definite statement in any of Dorothy Words- 
worth's writings as to her having read Bartram' s Travels. Yet 
the probability is strong that she read the book which so power- 
fully impressed her brother. Her Alfoxden journal indicates the 
close companionship of the two, who walked and read together 
and shared their thoughts, and it was at Alfoxden, as we have 
seen, just before the writing in Germany of " Ruth," that 
Wordsworth read or reread Bartram. If she did read the travel 
book, it is, of course, impossible to determine definitely just 
what influence it had upon her, or even if it had any at all. 
Professor Lowes, however, has called attention to some " curious 


and interesting parallels " between a passage in her Grasmere 
journal and some lines in Bartram. Describing a field of flowers 
she saw while out walking she says: 

A few primroses by the roadside — wood sorrel flower, the anemone, 
scentless violets, strawberries, and that starry, yellow flower which Mrs. 
C. calls pile wort ... we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side. 
We fancied that the sea had floated the seeds ashore, and that the little 
colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and 
yet more ; and at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there 
was a long belt of them along the shore. ... I never saw daffodils 
so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and above them ; 
some rested their heads upon these stones, as on a pillow, for weariness ; 
and the rest tossed and reeled and danced, and seemed as if they verily 
laughed with the wind, that blew upon them over the lake ; they looked 
so gay, ever glancing, ever changing.^ 

Bartram coming to a " rural retirement " describes " a charm- 
ing circle of mountain vegetable beauties ": 

. . . some of these roving beauties are strolling over the mossy, shelv- 
ing, humid rocks, or from off the expansive wavy boughs of trees, 
bending over the floods, salute their delusive shades, playing on the 
surface, some plunge their perfumed heads and bathe their flexible 
limbs in the silver stream, whilst others by the mountain breezes are 
tossed about, their blooming tufts bespangled with pearly and chrystal- 
line dew-drops collected from the falling mists, glisten in the rain bow 
arch (p. 342). 

" The likeness," comments Professor Lowes, " is probably sheer 
coincidence (for "William Bartram and Dorothy Wordsworth 
were kindred souls), but Dorothy must have had the Travels 
well in mind, and there may be touches of unconscious reminis- 
cence in her lovely picture of the daffodils beside the lake." ^ 

Such an '" unconscious reminiscence " may have also crept in- 
to her poem, " Floating Island ": ^ 

^ Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, edited by William Knight. London, 1910, 
I, 106. 

* Xanadu, p. 506; also see p. 172. The similarity between Dorothy Words- 
worth's entry in her journal and Wordsworth's poem "' I Wandered Lonely as 
a Cloud " is well known. Whether the employment of similar diction in express- 
ing what they saw is also a coincidence, or whether one influenced the other, 
or both "" unconsciously " echo Bartram, remains a subject of speculation. 

* Poems by William Wordsworth, VIIL 


Once did I see a slip of earth 

Loosed from its hold; — 

... all might see it float, obedient to the wind; 

Might see it, from the mossy shore 

Dissevered, float upon the lake, 

Float with its crest of trees adorned 

On which the warbling birds their pastime take. 

Food, shelter, safety, there they find; 

There berries ripen, flowerets bloom; 

There insects live their lives, and die; . . . 

It has been noted that Wordsworth's description of just such an 
island, in both The Prelude and the Guide to the Lakes, was 
influenced by Bartram's floating islands. May not his sister have 
carried away similar impressions from the same book.^ 

Robert S out hey: 

In the Catalogue of the Library of Robert S out hey, issued by 
Sotheby & Company, May, 1884, Item 125 reads, " Bartram 
(Wm.) Travels — 1794." Southey, then, owned a copy of the 
second London edition of Bartram's Travels, the same edition 
a copy of which, we have seen, was also owned by Coleridge. 
His interest in America, however, dates earlier. In a letter to 
Horace Walpole Bedford, dated at Bristol, on November 13, 
1793, he writes: 

It was the favourite intention of Cowley to retire with books to a 
cottage in America, and seek that happiness in solitude which he could 
not find in society. My asylum there would be for different reasons. . . . 
I should be pleased to reside in a country where men's abilities would 
ensure respect; where society was upon a proper footing, and man was 
considered as more valuable than money; and where I could till the 
earth, and provide by honest industry the meat which my wife would 
dress with pleasing care. . . .* 

A month and a day later he writes to Grosvenor C. Bedford: 

Now, if you are in the mood for a reverie, fancy only me in America ; 
imagine my ground uncultivated since creation, and see me wielding 

* The Life and Correspondence of the late Robert Southey, edited by his son, 
the Rev'd Charles Cuthbert Southey. London, 1849, I, 193-94. 


the axe, now to cut down the tree, and now the snakes that nestled in 
it. Then see me grubbing up the roots, and building a nice snug httle 
dairy with them, three rooms in my cottage, and my only companion some 
poor negro whom I have bought on purpose to emancipate. After a hard 
day's toil, see me sleep upon rushes, and, in very bad weather, take 
out my casette and write to you . . . till at last comes an ill-looking 
Indian with a tomahawk, and scalps me . . . poor Southey will ... be 
cooked for a Cherokee. . . .^ 

Southey specifically mentions Bartram in a note to Madoc. 
Referring to the lines 

On the top 
Of yon magnolia the loud turkey's voice 
Is heralding the dawn, 

he quotes this passage from Bartram: 

I was awakened in the morning early, by the cheering converse of 
the wild turkey-cock {Meleagris occidentalis) saluting each other, from 
the sun-brightened tops of the lofty Cupressus distkha and Magnolia 
grandiflora. They begin at early dawn, and continue till sun-rise, from 
March to the last of April. The high forests ring with the noise, like 
the crowing of the domestic cock, of these social centinels, the watch- 
word being caught and repeated, from one to another, for hundreds 
of miles around; insomuch, that the whole country is, for an hour or 
more, in a universal shout. A little after sun-rise, their crowing gradu- 
ally ceases, they quit their high lodging places, and alight on the earth, 
where, expanding their silver-bordered train, they strut and dance round 
about the coy female, while the deep forests seem to tremble with their 
shrill noise. — Bartram. ^ 

To appreciate the use that Southey made of Bartram it is neces- 
sary to quote more than the few lines from his poem which he 
himself quotes. 

The owls have ceased their night-song. On the top 
Of yon magnolia the loud turkey's voice 
Is heralding the dawn; from tree to tree 
Extends the wakening watch-note, far and wide, 
Till the whole woodlands echo with the cry. 
Now breaks the morning — (XI, 29-34) 

" Ibid., p. 196. 

'Poetical Works, V, 429. The quotation is from Travels, pp. 81-82 (second 
London ed) ; pp. 83-84 (Phila. ed.). 


A fairly faithful adaptation — except the owls, but they too, we 
have seen, are in Bartram, though in a different place. That 
there are numerous other places in Madoc where Southey drew 
upon Bartram is a plausible hypothesis. He himself has told us 
that he had at first planned to locate the poem in Peru, and then 
changed to Florida. " Here," he writes, " instead of the Peru- 
vians, who have no striking manners for my poem, we get 
among the wild North American Indians ; on their customs and 
superstitions, facts must be grounded, and woven into the 
work. . . . " ^ That he gained his facts largely from travel books is 
obvious from his own footnotes. Professor Fairchild is justified 
in his comment that " Madoc ... is simply crammed with sav- 
age lore," ® and cites Southey's references to " Franklin, Carver, 
Lafitau, Charlevoix, Mackenzie, Oviedo, Torquemada, Bernal 
Diaz, Padilla, Garcia, Clavigero, Bartram, Garcilaso de la Vega, 
Herrera, Heriot, Timberlake, Pietro Martire, Brainerd, Roger 
Williams, Priest, and Pero Nino." ® This is not a complete list 
of Southey's sources of his American lore. Another list could 
be drawn up from his entries in his Common-Place Books. For 
instance, in a section entitled, " American Tribes, Incidental and 
Miscellaneous Illustrations " (Second Series) , he draws upon 
many of the authorities already mentioned and also upon Langs- 
dorff, Fleckno, Dobrizhoffer, La Codamine, Vancouver, Adair, 
Perez de Ribas, Bandini, Buchanan, Stedman, Du Pratz, Volney, 
Winterbottom, Gage, Nieuhoff , Cockburn, De Monts, Baron de 
Lahontan, Hubbard, De la Salle, Smith, Hennepin, and Wool- 
man. Nor is this a complete list. It is only logical to assume 
that if Southey wanted " savage lore" of Florida he could not 
ignore Bartram's Travels. 

It is important to remember once more that the poetic imagi- 
nation adapts, combines, and transmutes the material it borrows. 
Southey's Songs of the American Indians bear titles which ^ 
would seem to exclude the possibility of a Bartram influence. 
"The Huron's Address to the Dead," "The Peruvian's Dirge 
over the Body of his Father," "' Song of the Araucans " — these 

''Life and Correspondence, II, 21. Letter to Thomas Southey, Friday, July 
12, 1799. 
• The Noble Savage, p. 199. ' Ibid., p. 206. 


do not suggest Bartram material. The " Song of the Chikkasah 
Widow " and " The Old Chikkasah to his Grandson " promise 
only slightly more. Yet these Songs deserve attention. What 
may have happened can best be illustrated by reference to an- 
other poem of Southey's, " The King of the Crocodiles." In his 
notes on that poem he refers to a superstition existing among 
the Egyptians concerning crocodiles, which he had read in 
"Brown's Travels"; in defence of an incident in the poem, 
"' the woman's attack upon her intended devourer," he refers to 
"Mr. Waterton's Wanderings."" The two books evidently 
supplied material which fused in one and the same poem. The 
notes to " A Tale of Paraguay," a lengthy poem, illustrate even 
more strongly the multiplicity of sources upon which Southey 
drew. That some images and suggestions which had come out 
of the books had become so thoroughly assimilated as to seem 
spontaneous and original with him and therefore to need no 
notes is also a probability to be considered. 

William Lisle Bowles: 

This poet, who left his mark on the work of Coleridge,^^ and 
who in 1855 was called by the Rev. George Gilfillan " the father 
of modern poetry," ^^ acknowledged his indebtedness to Bar- 
tram in at least one place. In " Banwell Hill " he writes: 

Not sweeter, where thy mighty waters weep, 
Missouri, through the night of forests deep, 
Resounds, from glade to glade, from rock to hill, 
While fervent harmonies the wild wood fill, 
The solitary note of whip-poor-will (115-119). 

In a footnote to these lines he adds: 

The "" whip-poor-will " is a bird so called in America, from his 
uttering those distinct sounds, at intervals, among the various wild 
harmonies of the forest. See Bartram's Travels in America." 

'■'' Poetical Works, VI, 96. 

^^ See the latter's sonnet, '" To William Lisle Bowles." 

"T^f Poetical Works of William Lisle Bowles. Edinburgh, 1855, II, v. 

^' Ibid. II 47. Cf. " The groves resound the unceasing cries of the whip- 
poor-will " {Travels, p. 51) and "The shades of silent night are made more 
cheerful, with the shrill voice of the whip-poor-will " (p. 154). 


Later in the same poem he writes: 

He had no friend on earth, save one blue jay, 
Which, from the Mississippi, far away, 
O'er the Atlantic, to his native land 
He brought . . . (424-427) 

and adds in a footnote, " The blue jay of the Mississippi. See 
Chateaubriand's Indian song in ' Atala.' " ^* The particular pas- 
sage in the Indian song referred to is 

If the blue jay of the Meschaceba (Mississippi) should say to the 
nonpareil of Florida, ' Why do you mourn so bitterly ? Have you not 
here pleasant waters and delightful shades, and all kinds of food, as 
well as in your own forests?' 'Yes,' the fugitive nonpareil would 
answer; ' but my nest is in the jessamine; who will bring that to me? 
and have you the sun of my savanna? ' ^^ 

That Chateaubriand owed both his blue jay of this Mississippi 
and his nonpareil of Florida to Bartram will be shown in a 
little while. Here, it need be pointed out, Bowles shows an 
influence of Bartram; in one instance he went directly to the 
Travels, in another he went to Chateaubriand, but the images 
in both cases came out of Bartram. 

It is not possible to trace Bowles's indebtedness to Bartram in 
other poems with as much certainty as in " Banwell Hill." Yet 
his " Song of the American Indian," with its " hills sublime," 
its " winding river," its " gladsome toil " of the Indians, its alli- 
gator and tiger and " beauteous cardinal," its '" hoary oaks " and 
" craggy banks — O'erhung with stately cypress-ranks," and its 
" trim canoe " — has all the marks of Bartram. So has his " The 
Missionary," so full of Indian lore and American landscape, 
obviously adapted from various travel books. 

Thomas Campbell: 

While Gertrude of Wyoming is located in Pennsylvania, 
Campbell's landscape is far from being Pennsylvanian. In spite 
of the fact that his father had spent many years in Virginia,^' 

" Ibid., II, 57. 

^^ Atala by F. A. Chateaubriand. Translated (1802) from the French by 
Caleb Bingham. Stanford University Press reprint, edited by William Leonard 
Schwartz, 1930, p. 47. " D. N. B., VIII, 393. 


Campbell evidently drew mainly on colorful travel books for his 
information about America. He sees flamingoes disporting 
themselves on the lakes; he hears the merry mock-bird's song; 
and for " pastime " he suggests doing battle with the crocodile. 
An insight into his sources is gained from his notes. For the 
mocking-bird he quotes a description from Ashe; for the In- 
dians' " swarthy lineaments " he quotes from the Travels 
through America by Captains Lewis and Clarke, 1804-3-6; for 
his "' tree-rocked cradle " of the Indian child he quotes Weld; ^^ 
for the fortitude of the Indian character he quotes Adair; ^^ for 
the Indians' superstitions regarding dreams he quotes Charle- 
voix; ^® for his use of a part of Logan's famous speech he quotes, 
of course, Thomas Jefferson ; ^° and for the crocodile he quotes 

Bartram's authority is invoked to explain the lines 

The crocodile, the condor of the rock, 
Shall be the pastime of thy sylvan wars; 

(Part I, stanzas xxvi) 

Four paragraphs are quoted from the Travels, beginning with 
'" The alligator ^^ when full grown is a very large and terrible 
creature " and ending with " He acts his part like an Indian 
chief, when rehearsing his feats of war." It is safe to say that 
if Campbell, when he came to write of America, remembered 
Bartram's alligators, he probably remembered many other things 
which he failed to annotate. Campbell's Pennsylvania looks 
more like Bartram's southern region than its own reality. It is 

" Isaac Weld, Travels in North America. London, 1800. 3d ed. 

^* James Adair, General Observations on the American Indians. London, 1775. 

^* Pierre Frangois de Charlevoix, Journal of a Voyage to North America. 

'" Notes on Virginia. 

*^ Here Campbell adds: " or American crocodile." The quotation differs in 
some respects from any of the known English texts. Campbell has evidently 
changed the punctuation and slightly compressed the passage. From the fact, 
however, that he lists the book as Bertram's Travels {Poetical Works. London, 
1837, p. 297) and calls the author *' Bertram," it is more than probable that he 
used the Dublin edition, 1793, pp. 126-129. The binding of the copy of that 
edition in The Johns Hopkins University library, presumably the original Dublin 
binding, labels the book as "' Bertram's Travels." 


" picturesque and balmy " with " fields that [are] a luxury to 
roam," with " pastoral savannahs," and its hills are " with high 
magnolia overgrown " as well as with the " palm-tree." 

Felicia Hemans: 

The poems of Felicia Hemans which deal with America are 
directly based on her wide reading. Her interest in America was 
keen. When her popularity invaded Boston and Cambridge she 
corresponded with such men as Bancroft," Norton, and Chan- 
ning,^^ who from time to time sent her American books. The 
notes to her poems bristle with references to various travel 
books, so that Miss Dumeril is right in her claim that " Ce sont 
des recits de voyages qui ont inspire les Lays of Many Lands, 
ou elle poetise des traditions de diverses contrees de I'Ancien ou 
du Nouveau Monde." She is not entirely right when she adds, 
" Elle s'est servie, en particulier, des Travels through North and 
South Carolina, de Bartram, et des Recollections of the Valley 
of the Mississippi, du missionaire americain Flint," ^* for in her 
notes to this group of poems Mrs. Hemans refers to no less 
than eighteen different sources, among them Bartram. 

Her specific indebtedness to Bartram is indicated by a long 
quotation from the Travels, prefaced to her poem, " The Isle 
of Founts. An Indian Tradition ": 

The river St. Mary has its source from a vast lake or marsh, which 
lies between Flint and Oakmulge rivers, and occupies a space of near 
three hundred miles in circuit. This vast accumulation of waters, in 
the wet season, appears as a lake, and contains some large islands or 
knolls of rich high land; one of which the present generation of the 
Creek Indians represent to be a most blissful spot of earth; they say 
it is inhabited by a peculiar race of Indians, whose women are incom- 
parably beautiful. They also tell you that this terrestrial paradise has 
been seen by some of their enterprising hunters, when in pursuit of 
game; but that in their endeavors to approach it, they were involved in 

''^ See Memoir of Mrs. Hemans by her Sister. The Works of Mrs. Hemans. 
Philadelphia, 1840, I, 113-114. 

^* See Memorials of Mrs. Hemans. By Henry F. Chorley. New York, 1836, 
I, 108. 

^* Edith Dum&il. Une femme poete au declin du romantisme anglais: Felicia 
Hemans. Doctoral dissertation. Toulouse, 1929, p. 155. 


perpetual labyrinths, and, like enchanted land, still as they imagined 
they had just gained it, it seemed to fly before them, alternately appear- 
ing and disappearing. They resolved, at length, to leave the delusive pur- 
suit, and to return; which, after a number of difficulties, they effected. 
When they reported their adventures to their countrymen, the young 
warriors were inflamed with an irresistible desire to invade, and make 
a conquest of so charming a country ; but all their attempts have hitherto 
proved abortive, never having been able again to find that enchanting 
spot. 2 5 

Using this tradition as a basis Mrs. Hemans weaves into her 
poem details borrowed from other sources. Bartram and the 
reports of South American missionaries merge with " merely 
imaginary circumstances " "** and produce a poem studded with 
blue hills, shining lakes, fountain isles, serpent kings, cougars, 
groves and fruits. 

Mrs. Hemans, however, does not always indicate her sources, 
and then, of course, her borrowings are harder to trace. That 
Bartram influenced her work is certain not only because of her 
own acknowledgement in " The Isle of Founts " but also be- 
cause of another poem, " The Aged Indian," in which no ack- 
nowledgements of any kind appear. The poem begins: 

Warriors! my noon of life is past, 
The brightness of my spirit flown; 
I crouch before the wintry blast, 
Amidst my tribe I dwell alone; 
The heroes of my youth ate fled, 
They rest among the warlike dead. 

Then follow seven stanzas in which the aged Indian reviews his 
brave past and recalls the deeds of his companions, all now in 
the " shadowy land"; then in a final stanza he concludes his 

Sons of the brave! delay no more, 

The spirits of my kindred call; 

'Tis but one pang, and all is o'er! 

Oh! bid the aged cedar fall! 

To join the brethren of his prime. 

The mighty of departed time. 

" The quotation is an abridgement of a long paragraph, pp. 24-26. 
■"" Poetical Works, IV, 110. 


That this is an adaptation of Bartram's story of the aged warrior 
he saw at Mucclasse town is more than probable. " One morn- 
ing," says Bartram of this "very aged man," 

after his attendants had led him to the council fire, before seating him- 
self, he addressed himself to the people after this manner — 

'You yet love; what can I do now to merit your regard? nothing; 
I am good for nothing ; I cannot see to shoot the buck or hunt up the 
sturdy bear ; I know I am but a burden to you ; I have lived long enough ; 
now let my spirit go; I want to see the warriors of my youth in the 
country of spirits ; (bareing his breast) here is the hatchet, take it and 
strike ' (p. 500) . 

Bartram's influence on Mrs. Hemans is not always so direct as 
in " The Isle of Founts " and " The Aged Indian." In a note 
to a line in " Modern Greece ": 

And isles of flowers, bright-floating o'er the tide 

(stanza XV, 1. 3), 
she quotes ^^ Chateaubriand's 

La grace est toujours unie a la magnificence dans les scenes de la 
nature: et tandis que le courant du milieu entraine vers la mer les 
cadavres des pins et de chenes, on voit sur les deux courant lateraux, 
remonter, le long des rivages des iles flottantes de Pistia et de Nenuphar, 
dont les roses jaunes s'elevent comme de petits papillons.-^ 

In both her line and her source we recognize, of course, Bar- 
tram's Pistia stratiotes, that " very singular aquatic plant " which 
" associates in . . . floating islands " and which, we saw, vividly 
impressed Wordsworth. But whether coming through Chateau- 
briand or directly from the Travels there is more of Bartram 
than the floating island in this poem. Her exiled Greeks find 
themselves in unmistakably Bartram's Florida. 

There, by some lake, whose blue expansive breast 

Bright from afar, an inland ocean, gleams, 

Girt with vast solitudes, profusely dress'd 

In tints . . . 

Or where some flood from pine-clad mountain pours 

Its might of waters, glittering in their foam, 

^'Ibid., II, 212. 

^^ Atala. See Bingham's translation (Stanford University reprint), p. 14. 


'Midst the rich verdure of its wooded shores, 
. . . round the wild retreat 

Scarce have the paths been trod by Indian huntsman's feet. 

(Stanza xiv) 

The forests are around him in their pride, 
The green savannas, and the mighty waves; 
. . . o'er his head 

The ancient cedars wave their peopled bowers, 
On high the palms their graceful foliage spread, 
Cinctured with roses the magnolia towers. 
And from those green arcades a thousand tones 
Wake with each breeze, whose voice through Nature's 
temple moans. (Stanza xv) -^ 

Another instance of Chateaubriand's influence on Mrs. Hemans 
is to be found in her " The Stranger in Louisiana." The poem 
is prefaced by a quotation from Picart's Ceremonies and Religi- 
ous Customs and by another from Chateaubriand's Souvenirs 
d'Amerique. These two are obviously the joint source of her 
material in this case.^" 

It is not possible to claim a Bartram influence on poems for 
which Mrs. Hemans specifically gives other sources. Neverthe- 
less there is always a possibility that a poet unconsciously draws 
upon the store of impressions which have accumulated from pre- 
vious reading. These impressions merge with, support and 
round out, as it were, the impressions freshly drawn from a new 
or recent source. Mrs. Hemans indicates specific sources other 
than Bartram for her poems, " Edith, a Tale of the Woods," 
" Indian Woman's Death-Song," " The American Forest Girl," 
" The Indian with his Dead Child," " The Exile's Dirge," and 
" The Indian's Revenge," yet in all of them certain glimpses of 
landscape and often the diction and imagery are strongly remi- 
niscent of Bartram. For " The Forest Sanctuary " and " The 
Indian's Revenge " she quotes from Campbell's Gertrude of 
Wyoming among the sources, a poem upon which Bartram, as 
has been shown, had a considerable influence. 

" Parallels for almost every line and image in these stanzas abound in Bartram. 
" Poetical Works, IV, 108. 


Charles Lamb: 

It might be expected, with good reason, that a man who was 
as close a friend to Coleridge as Charles Lamb was would read 
Bartram's Travels. Coleridge was not in the habit of keeping 
his literary enthusiasms to himself. And indeed Lamb did read 
the book. Among the contribution to the Morning Post which 
Mr. Lucas believes Lamb wrote appears the following, on Nov- 
ember 2, 1803: 

Bartram, who, as a traveller, was possessed of a very Lively fancy, 
describes vast plains in the interior of America, where his horse's 
fetlocks for miles were dyed a perfect blood colour, in the juice of 
the wild strawberries. A less ardent fancy than Bartram's may apply 
this beautiful phenomenon of summer, to solve the present strawberry 
appearance of the female leg this autumn in England. ^^ 

Percy By s she Shelley: 

In a note to The Revolt of Islam ^^ George Edward Wood- 
berry points to the similarity between Shelley's expression 

Creaked with the weight of birds (X, xviii, 5 ) . 

and Coleridge's " Flew creaking o'er thy head." It will be re- 
called that Coleridge justified his use of the phrase by invoking 
Bartram's authority. It is possible, of course, that Shelley's use 
of the word " creaked " as applied to the flight of birds is a 
mere coincidence, but then, again, it may be an echo of Cole- 
ridge and thus an echo of Bartram. That Coleridge did influ- 
ence Shelley is attested by Brandl, who remarks that " Lewti " 
had " a special charm for Shelley, who in his " Indian Serenade,' 
has imitated both matter and manner." ^^ " Lewti," we may 
again recall, owed much of its charm to Bartram. 

Whether Shelley read Bartram, after being referred to him 

'^ Works of Charles and Mary Lamb. Edited by E. V. Lucas. London, 1903, 
II, 441. 

"^ The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Cambridge Ed., 
Boston, 1901, p. 619. 

*' Alois Brandl: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the English Romantic School. 
English edition by Lady Eastlake. London, 1887, p. 191. 


by Coleridge, or whether he acquired a Bartram coloring 
through reading Coleridge, one other spot in The Revolt of 
Islam deserves attention. It is the description of the conflict 
between an eagle and a snake, in some respects reminiscent of 
Bartram' s description of the fight between a hawk and a snake — 
a passage which, we have seen, had its influence on Coleridge. 
Shelley's description is detailed and vivid: 

Feather and scale inextricably blended. 

The Serpent's mailed and many-colored skin 

Shone through the plumes its coils were twined within 

By many a swollen and knotted fold, and high 

And far, the neck receding hthe and thin, 

Sustained a creasted head, which warily 

Shifted and glanced before the Eagle's steadfast eye (I, ix). 

Bartram's coach- whip snake, it may be well to repeat, " wreathed 
himself several times round the hawk's body, who had but one 
of his wings at liberty " (p. 218) ; the snake, he relates, " dex- 
terously and luckily threw himself in coils round [the hawk's] 
body" (p. 219). 

Other Romantic Writers 

Samuel Rogers and other English writers of the period may, 
upon careful investigation, disclose a Bartram influence. Samuel 
Rogers's Voyage of Columbus is saturated with American lore 
and images derived from travel books. Among books cited in 
the notes to this poem Bartram's Travels does not appear, but 
it would not be surprising to discover that his book remained 
among those not cited but nevertheless consulted. Thomas 
Moore in his Poems Relating to America indicates a familiarity 
with the American scene and with the literature on American 
travel. His visit to America may account for his hostility to- 
wards American institutions and manners but it does not account 
for all the details of his landscape description. Byron was 
acquainted with at least Imlay's Description of the Western 
Territory.^* DeQuincey, Hazlitt, and " Christopher North" also 
deserve attention in this connection. 

" See Don Juan, VIII. 


Alfred Tennyson: 

A correspondent in The Academy for October 23, 1897, has 
observed the relation between Wordsworth's " Ruth " and a 
story about Tennyson and Wordsworth told by Aubrey de Vera. 
Tennyson had called on Wordsworth and found him rather 
" cold." To stimulate " some latent ardours " in the older poet, 
Tennyson told him " of a tropical island where the trees, when 
they first come into leaf, were a vivid scarlet, every one of them 
. . . one flush . . . the colour of blood." It seems that Words- 
worth failed to be stimulated by this colorful story, and the 
correspondent in The Academy explains why. He recalls that, 
more than forty years before the two poets had this conversa- 
tion, Wordsworth had written in " Ruth ": 

He told of the Magnolia, spread 
High as a cloud, high over head! 
The cypress and her spire; 
— Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam 
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem 
To set the hills on fire. 

" The Old Poet," concludes the correspondent, " may have con- 
sidered that there was no need to glow twice." " The problem 
that this story poses is: Had Tennyson come upon the same book 
which had inspired Word worth's stanza close to a half-century 
before ? It is probable. Tennyson's interest in plants and animals 
is well-known and Bartram was not only a botanist, an orni- 
thologist and zoologist, but also an interesting describer of the 
life and behavior of plants and animals. 
In In Memoriam appear the lines 

Like birds the charming serpent draws. 

To drop head-foremost in the jaws 

Of vacant darkness and to cease (XXXIV, 14-16). 

Of course Tennyson could have found this popular belief in 
numerous places. Yet Bartram's version is so strikingly similar 
as to suggest itself as a probable source: 

""Tennyson and Wordsworth," The Academy, October 2, 1897, p. 331. 


They [rattle snakes] are supposed to have the power of fascination in 
an eminent degree, so as to inthral their prey. It is generally believed 
that they charm birds . . . and by stedfastly looking at them possess 
them with infatuation ; be the cause what it may, the miserable creatures 
undoubtedly strive by every possible means to escape, but alas! their 
endeavors are in vain, they at last loose (sic) the power of resistance, 
and flutter or move slowly, but reluctantly towards the yawning jaws 
of their devourers, and creep into their mouths ... (p. 267). 

And is it another mere coincidence that the line 

Caught by the flower that closes on the fly ("' The Ring ") 

should have a parallel passage in Bartram: 

Astonishing production! see the incarnate lobes expanding, how gay 
and ludicrous they appear! ready on the spring to intrap incautious 
deluded insects, what artifice ! there behold one of the leaves just closed 
upon a struggling fly . . . (p. xx) . 

Thomas Carlyle: 

Carlyle's tribute to Bartram, in his correspondence with Emer- 
son,^^ has been quoted in the Preface. It indicates that he read 
the Travels with great enjoyment and suggests that an inquiry in- 
to the influence of Bartram on Carlyle might not prove fruitless. 

4. American Literature 

Bartram's work has apparently had less influence upon the 
literature of his own country. This is only logical. His scene 
has been a closer reality to the American writer and has there- 
fore not had the exotic fascination it seems to have had for the 
European. Nevertheless, Bartram's Travels could hardly have 
been entirely overlooked by the American writer. Interest in 
nature characterizes much of American literature; in fact, as 
Professor Foerster has shown, "With only two or three excep- 
tions, all our major writers have displayed both a striking 
curiosity as to the facts of the external world — an intellectual 
conscience in seeking to know them with exactness — and an 
ardent emotional devotion to nature because of her beauty or 

" II, 228. 


divinity. . . ." ^ Bartram's keen observation, vivid description, 
and " emotional devotion " have undoubtedly produced their 
echoes. But that is a subject comprehensive enough for a 
separate study. The following " echoes " suggest that Bartram 
has made an impression on American literature. 

The similarity between Emerson's "Nature" and Bartram's 
general philosophy of nature has been casually noted. It is not 
likely that Emerson, after receiving Carlyle's eulogistic letter 
about the Travels would fail to become acquainted with the 
book — if he had not been acquainted with it already. Just what 
impression Bartram made upon him remains a subject for 

So does the problem of Thoreau's indebtedness to Bartram. 
Here we have specific references to begin with. In Walden 
Thoreau, speaking of the customs among the savage nations, 
exclaims: "Would it not be well if we were to celebrate such 
a " busk,' or " feast of first fruits,' as Bartram describes to have 
been the custom of the Mucclasse Indians? " He then quotes 
Bartram's description of such a celebration (pp. 509-510).^ 
Even more interesting is the fact that Thoreau's knowledge of 
Bartram included more than acquaintance with the Travels. In 
Excursions, speaking of the jay, he remarks: " I can confirm 
what William Bartram wrote to Wilson, the ornithologist, that 
" The jay is one of the most useful agents in the economy of 
nature. . . .' " ^ 

It would be natural to expect that American poets would find 
Bartram stimulating reading. Thomas Holley Chivers pub- 
lished, in 1837, a long poem entitled Nacoochee; or, the Beauti- 
ful Star. While it is not true that " the whole of it is the author's 
embodiment of an old Creek legend given currency by Bar- 
tram," * it is true that Chivers made use of Bartram's legend 
of a " most blissful spot of earth " as the locale of another 

^ Norman Foerster, Nature in American Literature. New York, 1923, p. xiii. 

^ The Writings of Henry David Thoreau. Riverside edition. Boston, II, 

^ Ibid., IX, 244. 

* Dorothy Anne Dondore, The Prairie and the Making of Middle America: 
Four Centuries of Description. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1926, p. 250. 


legendary story. It is highly probable, however, that Chivers got 
Bartram's legend not from Bartram's book directly but through 
some English poet. Townsend's statement, " Really nothing but 
echoes of his poetical masters — Moore, Coleridge, Blake, Keats, 
Shelley, and the Bible — can be found in ' Nacoochee,' " ^ over- 
looks one important " master " — Felicia Hemans. What Chivers 
thought of Felicia Hemans can be gleaned from his eulogy of 
her in his elegy " The Mighty Dead." ^ We have seen that Mrs. 
Hemans used the same legend from Bartram in her " Isle of 
Founts. An Indian Tradition," which she prefaced by a lengthy 
quotation from Bartram. Chivers may have become acquainted 
with this Indian tradition through Mrs. Hemans's quotation 
and poem. 

If this supposition be true, it is likely that Chivers was stimu- 
lated to read Bartram for himself, for in his Atlanta,^ pub- 
lished twenty-six years after Nacoochee, he again makes use 
of the same Indian tradition, and this time he elaborates the 
locale with details which are in Bartram. Chiver's Lost Paradise 
is " a disappearing and unapproachable isle in the great Okefi- 
nokee swamps." ^ Bartram states that " The river St. Mary 
has its source from a vast lake, or marsh, called Ouaquaphe- 
nogaw " (p. 24) ; then he goes on to locate his " most blissful 
spot " in that swamp. Chivers's hero dines on grapes, nectarines, 
apples, pears, " delicious dates," etc.; Bartram's strayed warriors 
dine on " fruit, oranges, dates, &c." (p. 25). These details are 
not in Mrs. Hemans's quotation, but Mrs. Hemans does speak 
of a '" mighty serpent king" (1. 7) and Bartram does not. The 
conclusion to which these facts lead is that Chivers read both 
Mrs. Hemans and Bartram and merged images from both into 
a tale of his own. In any case, his imagination was fired by the 
Creek legend which was first narrated by Bartram. 

* John Wilson Townsend, " Thomas Holley Chivers," Library of Southern 
Literature. Atlanta, Ga., 1909, II, 846. 

" See S. Foster Damon, Thomas Holley Chivers, Friend of Poe. New York, 

1930, p. 189. 

' Atlanta: or The True Blessed Island of Poesy. A Paul Epic — in three Lustra. 
By T. H. Chivers, M.D. Macon, Ga., 1853. 

« Damon, op. cit., p. 98. 


Many years later the imagination of another American writer 
was stimulated by Bartram's description of a Florida fountain. 
Lafcadio Hearn in his Leaves from the Diary of an Impressionist 
sketches just such a fountain and his imagery reads indeed like 
" sublimated Bartram." ^ Hearn's fountain is " a flood of fluid 
crystal," eight miles long. Even where it is fifty feet deep every 
pebble can be seen, " every atom of sparkling sand "; ^° " fishes 
shoot by like flashes of opal." The source of the fountain is a 
great basin. " From what unilluminated caverns," asks Hearn, 
" what subterranean lakes, — burst this prodigious flow.^ " ^^ Bar- 
tram's fountain is six miles long; its water is so " transparent " 
that he could see " the sandy bottom, and the several nations 
of fish, passing and repassing each other " (p. 159). Bartram 
enters this " pellucid stream " and sails " over the heads of 
innumerable squadrons of fish, which, although many feet deep 
in the water, were distinctly to be seen " (p. 160) . There is 
implied wonder in his notation: "just under my feet was the 
inchanting and amazing chrystal fountain, which incessantly 
threw up, from dark, rocky caverns below, tons of water every 
minute, forming a bason . . ." (p. 165) . One passage in Hearn 
is especially significant: 

I sank to sleep and dreamed. ... It seemed to me that I was 
floating, — lying in a canoe, and all alone, — down some dark and noise- 
less current, — between forests endless and vast. . . . White mosses 
dropped to sweep my face; phantoms of cypress put forth long hands 
to seize. Again I saw the writhing and the nodding of the palms. . . . 
And still I drifted with the mighty stream, feeling less than an insect 
in those ever-growing enormities ; and a thin Voice like a wind came 
v/eirdly questioning: "How! thou dreamer of dreams! — hast ever 
dreamed aught like unto this .'' — This is the Architecture of God ! " ^^ 

Here Bartram's ability to give himself to nature, to " loaf and 
invite " his soul, to see his rich, subtrocial country with eyes in 
which aesthetic pleasure merges with mystic wonder — here it 
all finds a congenial echo in Lafcadio Hearn, himself a strange 
exotic of nature. 

* Xanadu, p. 587. 

'^° Leaves from the Diary of an Impressionist (1911), p. 56. 

^^Ibid.,p.57. ^^ Ibid., p. 55. 


5. Continental Writers 

Mention of Chateaubriand in connection with Bartram has 
been made repeatedly in the preceding pages. That he was 
influenced by Bartram has been definitely established in a series 
of studies by French scholars; that he in turn influenced the 
description of American landscape in English poetry has been 
shown in this study. As early as 1827 a writer in the American 
Quarterly Review ^ expressed a doubt that Monsieur de Chateau- 
briand ever actually saw Florida or Louisiana. In France doubt 
of Chateaubriand's description of America began even earlier.^ 
In this century the question has been opened up again, with the 
result that a number of Chateaubriand's sources for his knowl- 
edge of the American scene have been uncovered. Following 
upon the work of Joseph Bedier, who first mentioned Bartram 
as one of the sources to which Chateaubriand owed a debt,' 
Professor Gilbert Chinard has made a comprehensive study of 
Chateaubriand's American experiences, descriptions and sources.* 
In an earlier work Professor Chinard pointed out that Chateau- 
briand himself had confessed that in his Le Voyage en Amerique 
he had included " quelques extraits des voyages de Bartram que 
j' avals traduits avec assez de soin." ^ That the " quelques ex- 
traits " was most of the scenery and a good deal of his imagery, 
as well as his Indian lore, — and not only in his Travels in 
America but also in other works as well — is proved by Professor 
Chinard, who cites parallel after parallel, striking and unmis- 

The following selections from Professor Cloran's notes to his 

^December, 1827, p. 460. 

^ Emma Kate Armstrong, " Chateaubriand's America." P. M.. L. A., XXII, New 
series 15, 1907, p. 345. 

* Etudes critiques, Paris, 1903, pp. 127-294. 

* Gilbert Chinard, L'Exotisme Americain dans I'Oeuvre de Chateaubriand, 
Paris, 1918. 

' University of California Publications, Modern Philology, IV, 297. 
•See especially L'Exotisme, pp. 251-271. 



edition of Atala '' are illustrative of the type, extent, and use of 
Chateaubriand's borrowings from Bartram: 

Page 2. 20. On port sur les deux courants lateraux remonter, le long des 
rivages, des lies flottanies de pistia et nknuphar. . . . 
Chateaubriand is indebted for these floating islands with 
their strange passengers to Bartram, who observed the 
same phenomenon in the Saint John's river in Florida. 
22. nenuphar. Bartram says of the Nymphaea nelumbo (yellow 
water-lily): "These fine flowers . . ." (p. 407). He 
mentions this flower with the Pistia stratiotes (p. 228^.^ 
30. des savannes. . . . Savannas are repeatedly mentioned by 

Page 3. 17. Les vignes sauvages, les bignonias. Bartram says that the 

grape vines which he saw . . . (p. 85). The bignonia 

often has beautiful flowers (pp. 85, 134, 332, 399, 466). 

18. les coloquintes. It is doubtless the wild squash (Cucurbita 

peregrina) described by Bartram . . . (p. 135). 

In this way Professor Goran traces to Bartram Chateaubriand's 
tulip and magnolia trees, the red cedar, the blue malva, the fiery 
azalea, white moss, live oaks, mimosa sensitiva, the black 
squirrel (also described by Charlevoix), snakes, crocodile nests, 
Seminole horses, tigers, the mocking-bird, woodpeckers, car- 
dinals, the humming-bird, the nonpareil, strawberries, hiccory 
milk (creme de noix), canoes, the " World of Spirits," wells, 
harmony in nature (" Bartram is a poet in prose "),^ physical 
appearance of the Seminoles, Indian towns of Cuscowilla, Sticoe 
and Joe, Indian mico or king, Indian architecture, Indian council, 
treatment of captives, Indian game of ball, beautiful Indian 
women, property ownership among the Indians, itinerary of 
the lovers, view from the Occone mountain, the story of the 
aged Indian. 

Professor Chinard feels that Chateaubriand's indebtedness 
to Bartram was great enough to warrant the assertion: " Son 
oeuvre marque une date . . . dans la carriere de Chateaubriand." 

' Atala par Frangois-Auguste Chateaubriand. Edited with Introduction, Notes 
and Vocabularly by Timothy Cloran. New York, 1911. 

' Professor Cloran's page references are to the Dublin edition of the Travels. 
' Op. cit., p. 97. 


Having discovered Bartram, Professor Chinard shrewdly hints, 
Chateaubriand had no need to go elsewhere in search of the 
remote/" Bartram furnished him with ail the elements and the 
colors he needed in order to paint his backdrop: exotic plants 
and animals, Indians, landscapes, and the sounds and silences of 
nature in the desert. 

Specifically, Professor Chinard annotates fifty passages in Les 
Natchez which derive from Bartram. The Cherokee virgins 
gathering strawberries and the " well-formed Muscogulge 
women "; the baskets of " choicest fruit " with which Bartram 
was treated in an Indian hut; the Indian athletic games and 
musical instruments; the hibiscus plant, the Oenothera grand'i- 
flora, the Gordonia lasianthus, the llkium Floridanum, and the 
Dionea muscipula; the " delicious jelly" made from the roots 
of the smilax and the cream made from hiccory nuts; the '" new 
and beautiful species of verbena "; the table " spread under the 
shadow of Oaks, Palms, and Sweet Bays "; the warrior '" stone- 
blind by extreme old age"; the music of the nonpareil, the 
mock bird, the " brilliant humming bird," the blue linnet, the 
golden icterus, and the whip-poor-will ; the cooings of the dove 
and "the cheerful converse of the wild turkey-cocks"; the 
flight of the savanna crane; the water-hen, the pelican, and the 
rice bird; the Indian high priest; the Indian burying ground; 
the dress of the Cherokees, Muscogulges, Seminoles, Chicasaws, 
and Chactaws; the funeral dirge of the sachems; the singing 
and dancing of Indian maidens; the battle of the crocodiles; 
the roaring of the bull frog; the long black snake, " perfectly 
inoffensive and free from venom " (" — qui ne fait point de 
mal ") ; the tropical tempests; Bartram's arrival at the village 
of Talahasochte ; description of the ephemera — all of these, in 
one form or another, find a place in Chateaubriand's work. 

One must also add to these specific debts the less tangible 
one of stylistic influence. In Chateaubriand's descriptions of 
scenes of unviolated nature a Bartram coloring is at times un- 
mistakable. The " charm " which the anonymous reviewer of 
the French translation of Bartram's Travels found in the book 

^° Chateaubriand, Les Natchez, publics avec une Introduction et des Notes 
par Gilbert Chinard. The Johns Hopkins Press, 1932, p. 61. 


did not, one may be sure, fail to impress Chateaubriand. 
" L'auteur," wrote the reviewer, " a su repandre sur ses pro- 
menades solitaires, un charme qui attache le lecteur a ses pas." ^^ 
Bartram still travels " charmingly " in the pages of Chateau- 

Other Continental Writers: 

No one has as yet studied the influence of Bartram on French 
literature generally or on German literature. Through Chateau- 
briand French writers became aware of the American landscape, 
and their own work in this direction often displays a strong 
Bartram coloring. German writers, too, through the work of 
Zimmermann, could not help being aware of Bartram's descrip- 
tion of the American scene. That the influence of Bartram on 
the literature of France and Germany is likely to have been con- 
siderable is indicated by the wide interest in America in both 
countries and by the translations of Bartram's Travels into the 
languages of these countries. In fact, as Professor Lane Cooper 
has remarked, " it would not be surprising if careful search 
revealed an interesting set of transatlantic literary relations 
wherever this remarkable work found susceptible readers, say, 
in Holland, Germany, and Sweden also." ^^ Such a careful 
study is a task in itself, and the preceding pages, it is hoped, 
strongly suggest that such an undertaking might prove fruitful. 

La Clef du Cabinet des Souverains, No. 733. 
The Nation, February 23, 1905, p. 152. 


The reasons for the impression that William Bartram has 
produced upon modern thought and literature may be sum- 
marized in one statement: once more the time and the man met. 
The Travels appeared at an auspicious moment, at a time when 
the movement vaguely called Romantic was rapidly spreading 
over most of Europe. Whatever else that movement — or series 
of movements, as it may more appropriately be called — repre- 
sented, one of its definite characteristics was a quickened interest 
in nature and in anything that increased man's knowledge of 
nature. Bartram' s vivid descriptions of so many strange and 
marvelous natural curiosities could not fail to attract the atten- 
tion of a world become aware of the complexity and beauty of 
nature. In addition, America was still a strange and remote 
land, and especially the section described by Bartram — the 
Carolinas and the Floridas — and, therefore, wonderfully inter- 
esting. Three years before the appearance of his book in Phila- 
delphia, an American friend studying in Europe urged him to 
publish the work there, for, he wrote, " Whatever regards the 
Natural History of America is particularly sought after; and 
everything that tends in the least to reflect any light on this 
interesting subject is purchased and read with avidity." ^ 

When his Travels finally appeared in Europe it was discovered 
to be the work of — to use the late Professor Parrington's charac- 
terization — " A gentle, kindly spirit, animated by the genial 
philosophy of the times." ^ It was the work of a unique person- 
ality. Here spoke a lover of nature, one possessed of all the 
enthusiasm generally associated with Romanticism, but one who 
at the same time had the objective eyes of a scientist. Unlike 
the accounts of previous observers of the American scene, his 
was not concerned with utilitarian problems; it was not an 
inventory of resources but a picture of the landscape. Mary E. 

^Letter from Benjamin S. Barton, dated at Edinburgh, February 19, 1788. 
Bartram Papers, I. 

* Louis Vernon Parrington, Encyclopaedia Britannica (Fourteenth ed.), I, 787. 



Woolley has aptly characterized the work of Bartram's prede- 

Travellers to the colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
were fond of recording their experiences in the new country, but most 
of them confined their descriptions to the social, economic, political and 
religious characteristics, with an occasional digression into the fields 
of geography or natural history. If they spoke of the land, it was gen- 
erally with reference to its productive capacity, the wheat or tobacco 
which a given region yielded. There were chapters devoted to the 
climate, the soil, rivers and navigation, but not scenery. Nor did many 
of them penetrate into the interior, where the wild scenery was to be 
found. But even those who braved the difficulties of inland discovery 
seem little impressed by anything save the horror and desolation of 
the region.^ 

Bartram's book even differed from those of Romantic writers, 
to whom nature is most frequently a refuge and an escape. 
Bartram visited strange, unknown regions not because he sought 
to escape from civilization, to forget love's sorrows, to find 
consolation, inspiration, or even God, but merely because he 
wanted to see, to observe, and to paint. The picture that Bar- 
tram offered to the world was accurate, clear, and new. Europe, 
interested in America and in nature, appreciated its simplicity, 
the unsophisticated vision it betrayed, and its exoticism. Scien- 
tists studied it and poets found it a source of inspiration and 
fresh imagery. 

But Bartram's contribution must not be confined to the his- 
torical role it has played in the natural sciences and in the litera- 
ture of the Romantics. It is in itself a genuine piece of litera- 
ture. If his " expedition ... to the South is one of the important 
events in botanical history, and his book among the classics in 
that science," * the same expedition is one of the important 
events in literary history, and his book among the classics of 
nature description. Bartram's writing is the abiding expression — 
vivid and colorful — of a gifted personality, and a major con- 
tribution by an American to the literature of the world. 

* " The Development of the Love of Romantic Scenery in America." American 
Historical Review, III (1897-98), 57. 

* Peter J. Hamilton, Colonial Mobile, Boston, 1897, p. 243. 







My worthy and Dear Nephew. 

As thou art embarking on a long and distant journey, I take the 
liberty of communicating my sentiments, in such matters, as eventually 
may be of use and benefit. My age and experience prompt me to assume 
this ofl&ce. 

Fear and adore the Divinity. 

Honour and revere thy parents, thy relatives and friends, 
regard and benefit every one when it is in thy power. 

As human society is founded on subordination, do a rational homage 
to thy superiors; be social and friendly to every one, even to him that 
hath been thy adversary. But avoid the society of those who are ireligi- 
ous, immoral, and intemperate. Yet render assistance, and acts of 
benevolence, even to those when in distress. 

Respect the religion and laws of every Nation, that it may be thy 
fortune to be with; and never ridicule their religion and customs, for 
that can be of no advantage, besides placing thy understanding and 
good sense in a doubtfull point of view. 

My dear James, although I have good reason to hope that thou art 
proof against the detestable practice of indulgence in the use of spiritous 
liquors ; Yet as young company, and what is termed fashionable society, 
to youth hath a fascinating power and influence; be ever watchful and 
on thy guard, for be assured, that formidable enemy of youth, and the 
human race, privately seizes every opportunity, and favourable circum- 
stance, to entrap the unwary sons of men. 

Be honest and frugal, yet magnanamously liberal, as thy circumstance 
may authorize. Be charitable, and always be foremost to administer 
relief to the poor and distressed. 

Guard the honour of women, and never join in the low witty remarks 
of the ill bred coxcomb to turn into ridicule of the sex some natural 
foibles, from the conduct of a few week deluded creatures ; who very 

^ See footnote p. 33. 



likely have been seduced, from a happy state of inosence by some un- 
principled rake. 

Esteem and respect the Captain. He is sovereign, and absolute com- 
mander of your community during the voyage, and besides the advan- 
tage it will aflFord thee on the voyage; his countenance and friendships 
on land will be a powerful recommendation. I conjure thee, under no 
circumstance, take any part against him. But on the contrary if any 
dissension should take place on board, between the commander and 
crew, take part with the Captain, or be quiet. 

Do thy duty as surgeon, of the ship, and always be ready to render 
any service in the community, particularly at the request of the Captain. 
Let it be ever so mean Wisdom, saith Humility, comes before honour. 

Forget not thyself in the moment of recreation and joy; look at thy- 
self, thy own figure, as it were in a mirror standing before thee: I 
say my beloved Nephew, dishonour not that figure and the family of 
thy father. But ever have it in view to add lustre to the name of thy 
family. Remember that line of the Poet, which thee pointed out to 
me as beautiful. 

" Hills peep o'er Hills, and Alps on Alps arise." 

Be cool and temperate in conversation and debate on every subject, 
and shew deference and submission to thy superior ; and to old people ; 
rather affect ignorance, and a desire of information. For this will show 
thy good breeding, draw forth useful! knowledge, and procure friends 
and admirers. 

This far, my dear friend and nephew, I have presumed to give thee 
my sentiments and advice, on moral conduct, not because I suppose thee 
ignorant, but by way of admonition, during our separation, when thee 
may want a friend. 

Now I shall offer a few remarks concerning thy views, and occupa- 
tions, economy, health, etc. If you would be favoured with a prosper- 
ous and pleasant voyage and peacable sociable and friendly community 
Thee will have much time at thy own disposal which I would recom- 
mend to be devoted to philosophic observations, and study ; Particularly 
physick and surgery. Which thee knows is thy proper profession. 

So long a voyage through various temperate and Southern climates, 
is favourable for observation, and study of Natural history which com- 
prehends Zoology and Botany, not only the product of seas but of land 
when thee arrives there will furnish amusement, and profitable exercise 
to thy mind. 

On thy arrival in the hot southern climates, be careful not to make 


too free use of their delicious fruits, especially soon after thy arrival. 
I beg likewise that thee would be very cautious, and abstemious in the 
use of spiritous liquor and strong and heating wines. Since they are 
known to excite the most dangerous fevers. In hot climates let thy 
common drink be good water. It may be well to consult Dr. Horsefield 
when thee arrives at Batavia, concerning the best regimen. To whom be 
pleased to present my high regard and esteem — 

Now farewell, 

I pray God keep thee from all evil. — 

P. S. My dear James fear and adore God. 

Thy Unkle William Bartram. 
Pennsylvania, Septr. 23d, 1804. 


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. Philadelphia Medical and Physical Journal, I, part I (1804). 

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Aboriginal Monuments of the State of 
New York, 61. 

Academy, The, 190. 

Academy of Natural Sciences in Phila- 
delphia, 12, 32 n, 34 n, 40 n. 

Adair, James, 180, 183. 

Adams, John, 7. 

" Address to My Infant Daughter 
Dora," 173-4. 

" Aged Indian, The," 185-6. 

Akenside, Mark, 112. 

Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie, 37. 

Allibone, S. Austin, A Critical Dic- 
tionary of English Literature and 
British and American Authors, 22. 

Alligator-Hole, 147. 

Alligators, abundance of in the "' Great 
Sink," 74; Bartram's fear of attack 
by, 78; infest Battle Lagoon, 88; 
comments on use of the term, 92-3; 
Bartram's and Lawson's comments 
on use of the term, 93 ; Bartram's 
description of, 93, 197 ; comments 
by Clarke, True, and Kellog on Bar- 
tram's exaggerated description of, 
93-4; Harper's comment on ac- 
curacy of Bartram's description of, 
94; noises of, 104, 139; Bartram's 
battle with, 120; Coleridge's use of, 
128, 144, 145; Southey's use of, 
181; Bowles's use of, 182; Camp- 
bell's use of, 183 and n\ Chateau- 
briand's use of, 196. 

" Alligators of the Okefinokee," 94. 

Altamaha ( " Alatamaha " ) River, 52, 
72, 73, 86, 87, 133, 142, 143, 145, 
161, 164, 165. 

Ambrosio, or The Monk, 141 n. 

" American Forest Girl, The," 187. 

American Historical Review, 200. 

American Indian in English Literature 
of the Eighteenth Century, The, see 
Bissell, Benjamin. 

American Literature, 191-4. 

American Naturists, 98 n, 101, 102, 

American Ornithology, The, 13, 96. 

American Philosophical Society, The, 
elects John Bartram to membership, 
2 ; elects William Bartram to mem- 
bership, 11; Proceedings of, 11. 

American Quarterly Review, The, 58, 

" Ancient Mariner, The," indebtedness 
to Bartram, 128, 134-9, l4l, 165. 

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi 
Valley, 61. 

■" Anecdotes of an American Crow," 

Animal psychology, 45-7, 120-1. 

Annual Anthology, The, 129- 

" Answers to Queries about Indians," 
28, 60, 61. 

Anthologia Hibernica, 92-3. 

Apology for the Quakers, 19. 

Aristotle, Works, 20. 

Armstrong, Emma Kate, 195. 

Ashe, Thomas, 162, 169, 183. 

Atala, 182, 186, 196. 

Athenaeum, The, 132, 136, 144, 149 «, 
150, 152 «, 155, 157, 159, 165, l67, 
170, 174. 

Atlanta; or The True Blessed Island 
of Poesy, 193. 

Atlantic Ocean, 86, 133, 182. 

Auk, The, 97 n. 

Auroras, 135 «, 137, 174. 

Azalea, the flaming, Bartram observes, 
75, 84; Coleridge's use of, 133; 
Wordsworth's use of, 155; Tenny- 
son's use of, 190; Chateaubriand's 
use of, 196. 

Babbitt, Irving, 56, 57. 

Baker, Henry, 50. 

Bancroft, George, 184. 

Banks, Sir Joseph, 23. 

" Banwell Hill," 181-2. 

Barclay, Robert, 19- 

Barton, Benjamin S., publishes selec- 
tions from John Bartram's letters, 4; 
on John Bartram's correspondence, 
6; urges William Bartram to serve 
on Lewis & Clarke expedition, 12 ; 
his gift of BuflFon's Natural History, 
20; Elements of Botany with plates 
by William Bartram, 32; submits to 
William Bartram a list of queries on 
Indians, 60; his memoir on the 
Origin of the American Nation, 60; 
urges Bartram to publish the Travels 
in Europe, 199- 

Bartram, Dr. James, 33 and n, 34 n, 
113, 201-3. 

Bartram, John, grandfather of John 
Bartram, 1. 




Bartram, John, neglect by students of 
American cultural history, 1 ; dates 
of birth and death, 2; establishes 
botanical garden, 2; membership in 
Royal Societies, 2; legend of his 
manner of becoming a naturalist, 
3-4; eminence in medicine, 4; as a 
naturalist, 5; publishes Observa- 
tions and preface, notes, and ap- 
pendix to Dr. Short's Medicina Br:- 
tannica, 5 ; appointed royal botanist, 
5; publishes Description of East 
Florida, etc., 5; his extensive corre- 
spondence, 6; advice to his son, 8; 
death, 1 1 ; religious views, 14 ; 
views on negro slavery, 16, 18; 
books he read, 19; his personality 
compared with that of his son, 22; 
his views on astrology and magic, 
23; on his loss of a shipment of 
plants, 24; his compassion toward 
animals and insects, 49; his attitude 
toward Indians, 6A ; letter to Collin- 
son on William Bartram's urge to 
be a planter, 71; exhortation to his 
children, 113; as stylist, 122. 

Bartram, William, dates and place of 
birth and death, 1 ; ancestry, 1, 
1-2 K ; writes article on his father, 
4; influenced by father's garden, 6, 
9; journey with his father to the 
Catskills, 6; his studies, 6-7, 111; 
his talent as a painter, 7, 32 and 
k; mechanical skill of, 8; a mer- 
chant and trader, 8; accompanies 
father on Southern expedition, 8-9; 
condition as an indigo-planter on 
the St. Johns River, 9; works as a 
farm hand, 10; embarkation on 
Southern travels and return, 10; 
offered appointment at the Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania and other hon- 
ors, 1 1 ; declines to follow Alex- 
ander Wilson on ornithological ex- 
pedition, 1 1 ; invited to serve on 
Lewis & Clarke expedition, 12; 
recommends Alexander Wilson for 
Louisiana expedition, 12; elected to 
membership in Philadelphia Acade- 
my of Natural Sciences, 12; cause 
of his death, 12; his scientific in- 
terests, 13, 61; his assistance to 
Alexander Wilson, 13; tributes to 
his father in " Some Account of the 
Late Mr. John Bartram " and in the 
Travels, 15; his views on slavery, 

15-17; his reading, 19-21, 112; his 
classical references, 21; his person- 
ality compared with that of his 
father, 22; declines oflfer of Sir 
Joseph Banks, 23; defends the 
study of natural science, 24; his 
modesty and simplicity, 26, 61; his 
curiosity, 26-8; his accomplish- 
ments in geology and ornithology, 
28-9; his piety, 29-30; attitude of 
Indians towards, 31; his practical 
abilities, 32; on foods, 32-3; his 
letter to Dr. James Bartram, 33, 113, 
201-3; his religious views, 34; on 
man's imperfections, 35-6; his atti- 
tude towards nature, 38, 40, 41, 48, 
115, 174-5; his calendar of sea- 
sonal phenomena, 40-1; his theory 
of volition in vegetables, 43 ; " An- 
ectodes of an American Crow," 
43-4; his compassion towards ani- 
mals, 50-2; his description of In- 
dians in a state of nature, 54, 57; 
distinction between his manner and 
his matter, 57-63; cited as ethno- 
logical authority, 59-60; "Answers 
to Queries about Indians " and "Ob- 
servations on the Creek and Chero- 
kee Indians," 60 and »; his atti- 
tude towards Indians, 64-5 ; extent 
of his interest in Indians, 65-6; his 
account of Indians compared with 
those of Lawson and Carver, 67; 
summary of his contribution to our 
knowledge of the Indian, 68; his 
impressions of the South, 71; his 
Southern itinerary, 72-6; his ill- 
ness, 75-6; descriptions of camping 
places, 77-8; three types of Bar- 
tram's observations, 80; description 
of animals and insects, 89-95 ; de- 
scription of fishes, 95-6; summary 
of his landscape elements, 99-100; 
his rhapsodic descriptions, 102-3, 
106; his notation of sense impres- 
sions, 103-6; his knowledge of 
paintings, 107-9; his diction, 110- 
16; his narrative ability, 116-22; 
summary of, as a literary artist, 123; 
his influence on literature, general, 
127-8, 176; influence on Coleridge, 
128-49, 176; influence on William 
Wordsworth, 149-76; influence on 
Dorothy Wordsworth, 176-8; in- 
fluence on Robert Southey, 178-81 ; 
influence on William Lisle Bowles, 



181-2; influence on Thomas Camp- 
bell 182-4; influence on Felicia He- 
mans, 184-8; influence on Charles 
Lamb, 188; influence on Shelley, 
188-9; influence on Rogers, Moore, 
Byron, De Quincey, Hazlitt, and 
" Christopher North," 189; influence 
on Tennyson, 190-1; influence on 
Carlyle, 191; influence on Emerson 
and Thoreau, 192 ; influence on 
Chivers, 192-3 ; influence on Hearn, 
194; influence on Chateaubriand, 
195-8; reasons for Bartram's in- 
fluence, 199; his contribution to 
literature, 200. 

Bartram, Colonel William, 30, 88. 

Bartram Garden, The, established, 2, 
4; visitors to, 6, 24-6; influence on 
William Bartram, 9; inherited by 
John Bartram, Jr., 11. 

'" Bartram Library, The," 19 «. 

Bartram Memorial Library, The, 8, 19. 

Bartram Papers, 8, 9 n, 12, 17, 20 n, 
21, 30, 34, 35, 45-7, 60, 71, 113, 

"" Bartram Redivivus," 127 n, 198. 

Bartramia, 5. 

" Bartram's Garden," 8. 

Bedford, Grosvenor C, 178. 

Bedford, Horace Walpole, 178. 

Bedier, Joseph, 195. 

Belesenheit von William Wordsworth, 
Die, 149 n. 

Bersch, Georg, 140 n, l4l, 144, 147. 

■' Bertram," name of the Scottish 
branch of the Bartram family, 2 and 
k; John Bartram referred to by 
Crevecoeur, 3. 

Bibliotheca Botanica, lists "" Johannes 
Bartram, Americanus," 4. 

Bingham, Caleb, 182 n, 186. 

Biographia Literaria, 148 and n, 148-9. 

" Biographical Sketch of William Bar- 
tram," 23, 28, 29, 97. 

" Bird Migration Records of William 
Bartram," 97 «. 

Birds, language of, 47-8, 103; Alex- 
ander Wilson's list of, 29, 96; Bar- 
tram's description of, 96-8, 105; the 
whip-poor-will, 103, 162, 169, 
172-3, 181 and n, 197; the Savanna 
crane, 97, 105, 129, 151, 160, 169- 
70, 171, 197; migration of, 97 k, 
136; Coleridge's use of Bartram's, 
136-7, 140; battle between a hawk 
and a snake, 140, 144, 189; a peli- 

can, description of, 97, 109; Words- 
worth's use of the pelican, 150, 
161-2, 164, 165, 171, 174; Chateau- 
briand's use of the pelican, 197; de- 
scription of Spanish curlews, 171; 
Chateaubriand's use of the nonpa- 
reil, 182, 196, 197; the mocking 
bird, 183, 196, 197. 

Bissell, Benjamin, 56, 57, 63, 71, 127. 

" Blackbirds, The, an Elegy," 50. 

Blake, Thomas, 193. 

'■ Blind Highland Boy, The," 173. 

Borderers, The, 150, 164. 

Botanists of Philadelphia and their 
Work, The, see Harshberger, J. W. 

Bowles, William Lisle, indebtedness of 
"' Banwell Hill" to Bartram, 181-2; 
indebtedness of " Song of the Ameri- 
can Indian " and " The Missionary " 
to Bartram, 182. 

Brandl, Alois L., " Coleridges Notiz- 
buch," \2Sn, 134; Samuel Taylor 
Coleridge and the English Romantic 
School, 188. 

Breintnall, Joseph, 5, 6. 

British Museum, 128 «. 

Brown, Charles Brockden, 24; visits 
William Bartram, 25-6. 

"Browsing through Bartram," 114-15. 

Bruce, James, 144 n. 

Bruce, William Cabell, on friendship 
between Franklin and John Bartram, 

Buffon, Georges L. de, Natural His- 
tory, 20, 21, 38, 45. 

Bunting, Morgan, Genealogical Chart 
of the Bartram Family, 2 n. 

Burke, Edmund, on the sublime, 106, 

Byrd, William, corresponds with John 
Bartram, 6; on effect of rum on In- 
dians, 57; compared with William 
Bartram as describer of landscape, 

Byron, Lord, 135 «, 189. 

Cambridge History of American Litera- 
ture, on William Bartram's enthu- 
siasm, 10; on Carver's Travels, 59 n, 
67; on Bartram's power of observa- 
tion, 80. 

Campbell, Thomas, indebtedness of 
Gertrude of Wyoming to Bartram, 
182-4; influence on Felicia Hemans, 

Camping places, importance of, 77. 



Carlyle, Thomas, 48 n; his comment 
on Bartram's style, 101, 111, 191, 

Carver, Jonathan, as predecessor of 
William Bartram, 39; authenticity 
of his book, 67 ; indefiniteness of 
his camping places, 77; compared 
with William Bartram as describer 
of landscape, 122; on the whip- 
poor-will, 162, 169, 173; source of 
Southey's American lore, 180. 

Catalogue of American Trees, Shrubs, 
and Herbaceous Plants, 16. 

Catalogue of the Library of Robert 
Southey, 178. 

Cataracts, at Augusta, 88, 132. 

Catesby, Mark, 6, 122; History of 
American Birds, 19, 97, 98; Natural 
History of the Carolinas, Florida, 
and the Bahama Islands, 26, 39, 40. 

Century Magazine, The, 91. 

Ceremonies and Religious Customs, 

Chalmers, Dr. Lionel, 32. 

Channing, William Ellery, 184. 

Characteres Plantarum, 19. 

Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opin- 
ions, and Times, 40. 

Charlevoix, Pierre Francois, 180, 183, 

Chateaubriand, F. A., as Romantic 
traveler, 79, 80; indebtedness of 
Bowles to, 182; indebtedness of Fe- 
licia Hemans to, 186, 187; doubt of 
authenticity of his American land- 
scape, 195 ; Le Voyage en Amerique, 
19, 80, 195; Atala, 196; Les 
Natchez, 197. 

"" Chateaubriand's America," 195. 

Chinard, Gilbert, on Montaigne, 49 n ; 
L'Exotisme Americain dans I'CEuvre 
de Chateaubriand, 195 ; " Chateau- 
briand en Amerique," 195 ; Les 
Natchez, 197. 

Chinese painting, Bartram's knowledge 
of, 107, 109. 

Chivers, Thomas Holley, indebtedness 
of Nacoochee to Bartram, 192-3 ; in- 
debtedness to Moore, Coleridge, 
Keats, Blake, Shelley, and Hemans, 
193; "The Mighty Dead," 193; in- 
debtedness of Atlanta to Bartram, 

Chorley, Henry F., 184. 

" Christabel," indebtedness of to Bar- 
tram, 139-41. 

Christian Science Monitor, The, ll4. 

Chrystal fountain, 88, 95, l46, l47, 

Clarke, F. S., 93. 

Clarkson, Dr. Gerardus, 25. 

Cloran, Timothy, notes to his edition 
of Atala, 195-6. 

Coleridge, Ernest Hartley, on Bar- 
tram's humanitarian precepts, 34; on 
date of Coleridge's acquaintance 
with Bartram, 129; on indebtedness 
of " The Ancient Mariner " to Bar- 
tram, 134, 138; his edition of 
"Christabel," 140 k; his notes on 
" Religious Musings," 145 ; indebt- 
edness of " Kubla Khan " to Bar- 
tram, 147; on "Ruth," 155. 

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, his imagi- 
nation stimulated by Bartram's 
"generous" rattle-snake, 49; copied 
description of the " roar " of alliga- 
tors, 104, 128; influence of Bartram 
on, 115; indebtedness of his "An- 
cient Mariner " to Bartram, 128, 
134-9, 165; indebtedness of "This 
Lime- Tree Bower My Prison " to 
Bartram, 128-30, 188; date of 
" Lewti," 129; date of purchase of 
Bartram's Travels, 150 n, 148, 178; 
indebtedness of Osorio to Bartram, 
130-4, 156; record of his book bor- 
rowings, 130k; auroras in, 135 w; 
indebtedness of " Christabel " to 
Bartram, 139-41; indebtedness of 
" The Wanderings of Cain " to Bar- 
tram, 140, l4l, 150; indebtedness 
of " Zapolya " to Bartram, 140, 
14 1; indebtedness of "Frost at 
Midnight " to Bartram, 141-2 ; in- 
debtedness of " Lewti " to Bartram, 
142-3; influence of "Lewti" on 
Shelley, 188; indebtedness of 
" Fears in Solitude " to Bartram, 
143-4; indebtedness of " Religious 
Musings " to Bartram, 144-5 ; in- 
debtedness of " Midnight on the 
Euphrates" to Bartram, 145; in- 
debtedness of " Kubla Khan " to 
Bartram, 145-8; use of Bartram in 
describing Wordsworth in Bio- 
graphia Literaria, 148; comment on 
Bartram's Travels in Table-Talk, 
149; "To William Lisle Bowles," 
181; his friendship with Charles 
Lamb, 188-9; influence on Chivers, 



" Coleridge, Wordsworth, and the 
American Botanist William Bar- 
tram," 129 n. 

Coleridges Naturschilderungen in sei- 
nen Gedichten, 140 «, 14 1. 

"Coleridges Notizbuch," 128 «, 134. 

Collins, William, 112. 

Collinson, Peter, letter from John Bar- 
tram to, 4, 14, 71; exchange of 
plants with John Bartram, 5, 6, 7; 
sends books to John Bartram, 19, 23. 

Colonial Mobile, 200. 

Color, Bartram's reaction to, 84, 107, 
123; poetic, 102; emotional, 104; 
Coleridge's adaptation from Bar- 
tram, 137-8; Wordsworth's adapta- 
tion from Bartram, 154, 155, 157, 
165 ; Chateaubriand's adaptation of, 

Commonplace Book, The, see Payne, 
John Howard. 

Common-Place Books, 180. 

Complete Poetical Works of Percy 
Bysshe Shelley, The, 188. 

Concordance to the Poems of William 
Wordsworth, A, 168. 

Cones, D., 28. 

■" Conjectures Relative to the Scite of 
Bristol, in Pennsylvania," 28. 

Cooke, Edward, 137 «. 

Cooper, James Fenimore, 31. 

Cooper, Lane, Cambridge History of 
American Literature, 10, 39 n, 61, 
68, 80; Dictionary of American Bio- 
graphy, iln; "Bartram Redivivus," 
127 n, 198; "A Dissertation upon 
Northern Lights," 135 «; "Words- 
worth's Sources," 136, 149 «, 152, 
155, 157, 158, 159, 165, 167, 170, 
171, 174; "Coleridge, Wordsworth, 
and Mr. Lowes," 136-7; "A Glance 
at Wordsworth's Reading," 149 n, 
150, 160, 164; Methods and Aims 
in the Study of Literature, 149 n, 
150 «, 160 «; A Concordance to the 
Poems of William Wordsworth, 168. 

Cowley, Abraham, 178. 

Craftsman, The, 22. 

Crantz, David, 135 k. 

Crevecoeur, Hector St. John de, 1 ; 
quoting John Bartram on his becom- 
ing a naturalist, 3 ; visits Bartram's 
garden, 6; reports John Bartram's 
views on negro slavery, 16, 18. 
Crocodiles, see Alligators. 
" Crocodiles and their Nests," 92-3. 

Cupressus Disticha, description of, 82, 
106, 109; Wordsworth's use of, 
154-5, 155 «, 157, 161-2, 164, 165; 
Southey's use of, 179; Hearn's use 
of, 194. 

Cutler, Reverend Manasseh, 24; visits 
William Bartram, 25. 

Cyclopaedia of American Literature, 
see Duyckinck. 

Cypress tree, see Cupressus Disticha. 

Damon, S. Foster, 193. 

Dampier, Captain William, 173. 

Darlington, see Memorials of John 
Bartram and Humphrey Marshall. 

Darwin, Erasmus, Phytologia or the 
Philosophy of Agriculture and 
Gardening and Botanic Garden, 20. 

De Maupertuis, 135 k. 

Democracy and Poetry, 139. 

De Quincey, Thomas, 152, 189. 

Description of the Western Territory, 

De Selincourt, Ernest, 149 n, 150, 
161 n, 166 n. 

" Development of the Love of Ro- 
mantic Scenery in America, The," 

Development of the Natural History 
Essay in American Literature, The, 
see Hicks, Philip Marshall. 

De Vere, Aubrey, 190. 

Dictionary of American Biography, on 
John Bartram's ancestry, 1-2 n ; date 
of John and William Bartram's trip 
to the Catskills, 9 « ; on manner of 
William Bartram's death, 12; on 
William Bartram's paintings, 32 n. 

Dictionary of Books Relating to 
America, A, 5 n. 

Dictionary of National Biography, 
82 n. 

Dillenius, 6; his History of Mosses, 19. 

Dionea Aiuscipula, 42. 

" Dissertation upon Northern Lights, 
A," 135 k. 

Dock, M. L., 8 n. 

Dondore, Dorothy Anne, 101, 192. 

Don luan, 189 n. 

Dowden, Edward, 150-1, 151k, 153, 

Dr. John Pother gill and his Friends, 
see Fox, R. Hingston. 

Ducros, L., 38. 

Dumeril, Edith, 184. 



Dunlap, William, 24; visits William 

Bartram, 25-6. 
Duyckinck, E. A. and G. L., 5 «, 7, 

15, 36. 
Dyer, John, 50. 

Early History of the Creek Indians and 

their Neighbors, 59. 
Eastlake, Lady, 188 n. 
Ecclesiastical Sonnets, 172. 
•" Edith, A Tale of the Woods," 187. 
Edwards, George, corresponds with 

John Bartram, 6; cited by William 

Bartram, 20, 20 n, 39. 
Eggleston, Edward, on use of term 

" tyger," 91 and n. 
Eliot, Jared, letter from John Bartram 

to, 8; letter from Benjamin Frank- 
lin to, 15. 
Ellis, John, 6. 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 48 n, 191, 192. 
Encyclopaedia Americana, 7, 13, 28. 
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 199. 
Ephemera, 74, 91, 92, 197. 
Essay on Criticism, 21. 
Essay on Man, 21. 
Etudes Critiques, 195. 
Excursion, The, 160, l6l, 162, 164, 

165, 166, 168, 173. 
Excursions, 192. 
"' Exile's Dirge, The," 187. 
" Expostulation and Reply," 175. 

Fagin, N. B., 62 n. 

Fairchild, Hoxie Neale, 52, 67, 127, 

"" Fears in Solitude," 143-4. 

Figure of the Earth, The, 155 n. 

" Fisheries and Fishery Industries of 
the United States, The," 93. 

■" Fleece, The," 50. 

Floating islands, description of, 89; 
adaptation of by Wordsworth, 166, 
167, 171; adaptation of by Doro- 
thy Wordsworth, 177-8; adaptation 
of by Felicia Hemans, 186; adapta- 
tion of by Chateaubriand, 196. 

Flora Virginica, 19. 

Foerster, Norman, 191-2. 

Food, Bartram's attitude towards, 32-3 ; 
importance of to explorer, 78; de- 
scription of, 79-80. 

" Forest Sanctuary, The," 187. 

Fothergill, Dr. John, his correspond- 
ence with John Bartram, 6; agrees 
to finance William Bartram's journey 

to the Floridas, 10, 80-1 ; interest in 
American plants, 22, 71. 

Fox, R. Kingston, on John Bartram's 
scientific accomplishments, 4, 5 «; 
on William Bartram's roving disposi- 
tion, 8; on agreement between Dr. 
Fothergill and William Bartram, 10, 

Franklin, Benjamin, founds American 
Philosophical Society, 2; visits Bar- 
tram's garden, 6; offers to teach 
William Bartram printing or en- 
graving, 8; friendship with John 
Bartram, 14; opinion of John Bar- 
tram quoted, 15; his pamphlet on 
education, 20; a shrub named for, 
76; source of Southey's American 
lore, 180. 

Franklinia Alatamaha, 16, 81. 

'" Frost at Midnight," l4l. 

Garden, Dr. Alexander, corresponds 

with John Bartram, 6, 19. 
Garden and Forest, 8. 
Genealogical Chart of the Bartram 

Family, 2 n. 
Gertrude of Wyoming, 182, 187. 
Gilfillan, Reverend George, 181. 
'" Glance at Wordsworth's Reading, 

A," 149 «, 150, 160. 
Gordonia lasianthus, 81, 128, 143, 144, 

154, 197. 
Gower, John, 136. 
Gray, Thomas, 112. 
Great Spring (Sink), The, 88, 137. 
Greenlaw, Edwin, on mingling of 

classic and romantic traits, 57. 
Gronovius, 5, 6; Index Lapideae and 

Flora Virginica, 19. 
Guide to the Lakes, describes floating 

islands, 166, 178; describes flight 

of birds, 169-70, 171. 
Gummere, Francis B., 139. 
Gutch, John Matthew, 128 n. 
" Gutch Memorandum Book," see 

Note Book, Coleridge's. 

H., F., 114-15. 

Habits and Economic Importance of 

Alligators, The, 94. 
'" Habits and Embryology of the 

American Alligator, The," 93. 
Hamilton, Alexander, visits Bartram's 

garden, 6, 25. 
Hamilton, Peter J., 200. 
Harper, Francis, 94. 



Harper, G. M., 150 «. 

Harper's Magazine, 2 n, 22, 122. 

Harshberger, John W., on John Bar- 
tram's scientific accomplishments, 4; 
on William Bartram's encourage- 
ment of Alexander Wilson, 13; on 
Alexander Wilson's list of birds, 29. 

Havens, Raymond D., on poetic dic- 
tion, 112, 116. 

Hazlitt, William, 189. 

Hearn, Lafcadio, indebtedness of his 
Leaves from the Diary of an Im- 
pressionist to Bartram, 194. 

Hedwig, 5. 

Hemans, Felicia, her interest in 
America, 184; indebtedness of 
" The Isle of Founts " to Bartram, 
184-5, 193; indebtedness of "The 
Aged Indian," 185-6; indebtedness 
of "Modern Greece," 186; indebt- 
edness of " The Stranger in Louisi- 
ana," 187; indebtedness of "Edith, 
a Tale of the Woods," " Indian 
Woman's Death-Song," "The 
American Forest Girl," " The Indian 
with his Dead Child," " The Exile's 
Dirge," " The Indian's Revenge," 
and "The Forest Sanctuary," 187; 
influence on Chivers, 193; Chiv- 
ers's eulogy to, in " The Mighty 
Dead," 193. 

Herford, C. H., 165, 175. 

Heme, Samuel, 135 «. 

Herrig's Archiv., 128 «, 143. 

Hicks, Philip Marshall, on Bartram's 
contribution to natural history, 13, 
39, 40. 

History of Carolina, The, 66 n, 67. 

History of Greenland, The, 135 ». 

History of Mosses, 19. 

History of the American Theatre, A, 

History of the Dividing Line, 57. 

' Hoflfer," 160. 

Hope, John, 6. 

Hume, David, History of England, 20. 

" Huron's Address to the Dead, The," 

Hussey, Christopher, on the sublime, 
106, 107. 

Huxley, Aldous, 72. 

" I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," 177. 
Imlay, Gilbert, 189. 
Index Lapideae, 19. 

" Indian Serenade," 188. 

Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi 
Valley, 59. 

" Indian with his Dead Child, The," 

" Indian Woman's Death-Song, The," 

Indians, Indian slaves, 16; the Creek 
Confederacy, 21, 121; "Observa- 
tions on the Creek and Cherokee In- 
dians," 28; attitude of towards 
William Bartram, 30-1; on their 
imperfections, 46; conceived of as 
the Noble Savage, 52 ; effect of 
civilization on, 53, 54, 55; portrait 
of a Noble Savage, 56-7 ; as mound 
builders, 58-9; their social beha- 
viour, 62, 153, 197; on the customs 
of various tribes, 63, 197; sum- 
mary of Bartram's contribution to 
our knowledge of, 68; description 
of Cherokee virgins, 105-6, 153 
197; description of painting of, 
108; story of Long Warrior, 117 
dress of Long Warrior, 151; Bar 
tram's encounters with, 118-19; de 
scription of hunting scene, 121 
156-7; legends, 121, 184-5, 192-3 
interest in among English poets 
127; Coleridge's interest in, 143 
Wordsworth's use of, 151, 152, 153 
162-3, 168, 169, 172, 173, 174, 175 
Southey's use of, 180-1; Chateau 
briand's use of, 182; Bowles's use 
of, 182; Campbell's use of, 183 
superstitions of, 183; Felicia He- 
mans's use of, 184; Thoreau's use 
of Bartram's, 192 ; Chateaubriand's 
use of Bartram's, 196. 

" Indian's Revenge, The," 187. 

" Interpretation of Aboriginal Mounds 
by Means of Creek Indian Customs," 

" Isle of Founts, The. An Indian Tra- 
dition," 184-5, 193. 

Isle of Palms, 146. 

Jago, Richard, 50. 

Jefferson, Thomas, visits Bartram's gar- 
den, 6; letter from Alexander Wil- 
son regretting Bartram's inability to 
undertake Western expedition, 11; 
invites Bartram to serve on Lewis & 
Clarke expedition, 12; Bartram 
recommends Wilson for exploration 



in Louisiana, 12 ; his Notes on Vir- 
ginia, 20; reports seasonal phe- 
nomena, 40; his list of American 
birds, 97; his description of the 
Natural Bridge, 123; Logan's speech 
cited, 183. 

" John Bartram, Botanist," see Middle- 
ton, William S. 

Johnson's Universal Cyclopedia, 28. 

Jones, Henry L., 33. 

Josselyn, John, New England's Rari- 
ties, 39. 

Journal of a Voyage to North America, 

Journal of Morphology, The, 93. 

Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, 111. 

Journey from Prince of Wales's Port in 
Hudson Bay, to the Northern Ocean, 
A, 135. 

Kalm, Peter, 5 «, 6 ; Travels into 

North America, 39. 
Kaufman, Paul, 130 «. 
Keats, John, 193. 
Kellog, Remington, 94. 
'" King of the Crocodiles, The," 181. 
"' Kitten and the Falling Leaves, The," 

Knight, William, 154 and n, 155 and 

n, 156, 162, 177 «. 
'■ Kubla Khan," 145-8. 

La Clef du Cabinet des Souverains, 198. 

Lamb, Charles, Coleridge's '" This 
Lime-Tree Bower My Prison " ad- 
dressed to, 129; evidence of his 
reading Bartram, 188. 

Landscape, Indian, 54-5 ; of Bartram, 
71; camping places as, 77-8; result 
of Bartram's scientific, aesthetic, and 
philosophical observations, 80; trees, 
shrubs, and flowers as, 81-5, 106; 
plains as, 85, 89; mountains and 
promontories as, 85-6, 89, 105, 106; 
cliffs as, 86; Indian mounds as, 86; 
bodies of water as, 86, 106; ani- 
mals and insects as, 89-95 ; fishes as, 
95-6; birds as, 96-8; movement and 
change of, 98, 105 ; summary of ele- 
ments of, 99-100; the sublime as 
element of, 106, 107; as painting, 
107, 108; as background for narra- 
tive, 117; Coleridge's use of Bar- 
tram's, 142, 144 «, 145; Words- 
worth's use of Bartram's, 150, 155, 
157, 160, 165; Bowles's use of Bar- 

tram's, 182; Felicia Hemans's use 
of Bartram's, 186-7; possible use of 
Bartram's landscape by Samuel 
Rogers, Thomas Moore, Byron, De 
Quincey, Hazlitt, and " Christopher 
North," 189; Hearn's use of Bar- 
tram's, 194; Chateaubriand's use of 
Bartram's, 195-8. 

Laurens, Henry, writes on William 
Bartram's condition as indigo- 
planter, 9. 

Lawson, John, 66, 61, 93, 97, 122. 

Lays of Many Lands, 184. 

Leaves from the Diary of an Impres- 
sionist, 194. 

Les Encyclopedistes, 38. 

Les Natchez, 197. 

Letters from an American Parmer, see 
Crevecoeur, Hector St. John de. 

Letters of the Wordsworth Pamily, 149 
and n. 

Lettres d'un Cultivateur Americain, see 
Crevecoeur, Hector St. John de. 

Lewis, M. G., l4l n. 

Lewis & Clarke, expedition, 12 ; travels 
of, 183. 

"' Lewti," 129, 142. 

L'Exotisme Americain dans la Littera- 
ture Prangaise au XVP Siecle, see 
Chinard, Gilbert. 

Library of Congress, The, Manuscript 
Division, 12. 

Library of Southern Literature, 193. 

Lienemann, K., 149 and n. 

Life, Journals, and Correspondence of 
Rev. Manas s eh Cutler, 25. 

Life and Correspondence of the late 
Robert Southey, The, 178, 180. 

Life and Letters, 72. 

Life of Alexander Wilson, 11, 13. 

Linnaeus, on John Bartram, 2 ; corre- 
sponds with John Bartram, 6; Sys- 
tetna Naturae and Characteres Planta- 
rum, 19; his influence on William 
Bartram, 20, 37 ; his contribution to 
science, 38; William Bartram's di- 
gest of his "" three grand divisions 
of Nature," 45. 

Literary History of Philadelphia, 
The, 6. 

Literature, Bartram's influence on, 

Logan, James, 5, 6. 

Logan's speech, 183. 

Longinus, 106. 

Lovejoy, Arthur O., on the term " na- 



ture," 37 ; on Linnaeus's contribu- 
tion to science, 38. 

Love's Labour's Lost, 139. 

Lowes, John Livingston, see Road to 
Xanadu, The. 

Lucas, E. v., 188. 

Lyrical Ballads, 149. 

Madison, James, 25. 

Madoc, 179, 180. 

Magnolia grandiflora, 74, 81, 119, 148 

and n, 154 and n, 156, 179, 196. 
Making of the Modern Mind, The, 

26, 38. 

Manuscript Diary of William Bartram, 

27, 37 n, 40-1 n, 97 n. 
Marten, Frederick, 155 n. 
Medicina Britannica, 5. 

Meehan's Monthly, on fictitious charac- 
ter of Crevecoeur's Letters, 1 n. 

Memoir of Mrs. Hemans by her Sister, 

Memorials of John Bartram and Hum- 
phrey Marshall, 2 n, 4 n, 7, 8, 9, 14, 
19, 22, 24. 

Memorials of Mrs. Hemans, 184. 

Methods and Aims in the Study of 
Literature, 149 n, 150 », 160 «. 

Micco Chlucco, 151. 

Michaux, Andre, 6. 

Middleton, William S., on the Bartram 
Gardens, 2 « ; on John Bartram's 
scientific accomplishment, 4, 5 ; on 
John Bartram's religious views, 14; 
on John Bartram's irony, 23; cites 
John Bartram's attitude towards In- 
dians, 64; on John Bartram's style, 
122 «. 

"Midnight on the Euphrates," l45. 

" Mighty Dead, The." 193. 

Miller, Phillip, 6. 

" Missionary, The," 182. 

Mississippi River, 76, 87, l6l, 182. 

Mocking bird, 183, 196, 197. 

■" Modern English Romanticism," 57. 

" Modern Greece," 186. 

Modern Language Notes, 37, 62, 155 n, 
149 n, 150, 160, 164. 

Modern Philology, 150 n. 

Montaigne, Michel de, 49. 

Monthly Review: or Literary Journal, 

Moore, C. E., 40 n. 

Moore, Thomas, possible indebtedness 
of his Poems Relating to America to 
Bartram, 189; influence on Chivers, 

Moral Essays, 20. 

" Morning Exercise, A," 172. 

Morning Post, The, 188. 

Morton, Samuel George, 60, 61. 

Morton, Thomas, The New England 

Canaan, 39- 
Mound builders, theory of the, 58, 59, 


Nacoochee, 192, 193. 

Nation, The, 111, 127 «, 198. 

Natural Bridge, 123. 

Natural History of Jamaica, 19. 

Nature, philosophy of, 37-55. 

" Nature as Aesthetic Norm," see 
Lovejoy, Arthur O. 

Nature in American Literature, 192. 

New International Encyclopedia, The, 

New Voyage Round the World, A, 

Noble Savage, The, see Fairchild, 
Hoxie Neale. 

Nonpareil, Chateaubriand's use of, 
182, 196, 197. 

" North, Christopher," 189. 

North American Review, The, 3 «. 

Norton, Charles Eliot, 184. 

Note Book, Coleridge's, 128, 134, 139, 
141, 143, 144, 145. 

'■ Notes of a Rapid Reader," 101, 115. 

Notes on the State of Virginia, in Bar- 
tram's library, 20 ; its lists of Ameri- 
can birds, 97 and «; description of 
the natural bridge, 123; Logan's 
speech cited, 183. 

" Notes on Wordsworth," 167. 

" Notices of the Epidemics of Pennsyl- 
vania and New Jersey in the years 
1746, 1747, 1748, and 1749," from 
John Bartram's letters to Collin- 
son, 4. 

Nymphaea N el umbo, description of, 
89; taste of, 104; Chateaubriand's 
use of, 196. 

Oberholtzer, Ellis P., 6. 

" Observations on the Creek and 
Cherokee Indians," 28, 60, 63, 66, 
68, 101, 108. 

Observations on the Inhabitants, etc., 5. 

" Old Chikkasah to his Grandson, 
The," 181. 

Osorio, 130-4, 136, 139, l4l, 156. 

Owls, sound of, 103, 133 and n; 
Coleridge's use of, 137, 139, l4l, 
171; Wordsworth's use of, 171, 
172-3; Southey's use of, 179, 180. 



Panther, see Tiger. 

Parrington, Louis Vernon, 199. 

Payne, John Howard, 28, 60, 108. 

Peabody, William B. O., see Lije of 
Alexander Wilson. 

Peattie, D. C, on date of emigration of 
John Bartram's grandfather, 1-2; 
date of John and William's trip to 
the Catsicills, 9 n. 

Pelican, description of, 97, 109; used 
by Wordsworth, 150, 161-2, 164, 
165, 171, 174; used by Chateau- 
briand, 197. 

Pennsylvania Historical Society, The, 
Bartram Papers, 8; Bartram's li- 
brary, 19; John Howard Payne's 
Commonplace Book, 28, 60, 108; 
the Simon Gratz collection, 32, 71. 

" Peruvian's Dirge over the Body of 
his Father, The," 180. 

Philadelphia Medical and Physical 
Journal, publishes William Bartram's 
article on his father, 1 n\ publishes 
selections from John Bartram's let- 
ters to Peter Collinson, 4; on John 
Bartram's correspondence, 6; pub- 
lishes '" Some Account of the late 
Mr. John Bartram," 15; publishes 
"■ Conjectures Relative to the Scite of 
Bristol, in Penn.," 28; "Anecdotes 
of an American Crow," 43. 

Philadelphia Public Ledger, The, 19. 

Picart, 187. 

Picturesque, The, 106, 107. 

Pioneers of Science in America, see 
Youmans, W. J. 

Pistia Stratiotes, see Floating islands. 

" Place of Linnaeus in the History of 
Science, The," see Love joy, Arthur 

Plains, 85, 163. 

Poems by William Wordsworth, 151 n, 
152, 155, 167 «, 169, 172, 173, 177. 

Poems Relating to America, 189. 

" Poetic Diction of the English Classi- 
cists, The," 112, 116. 

Poetical Works of Robert Southey, 
The, 179. 

Poetical Works of William Lisle 
Bowles, The, 181. 

Pope, Alexander, 112; Moral Essays, 
20; Essay on Criticism, 21; Essay 
on Man, 2 1 ; Windsor Forest, 40. 

Popular Science Monthly, 7, 23, 38, 
45, 49, 122 n. 

Prairie and the Making of Middle 
America, The, 101, 192. 

Prelude, The, 149, 150, 157 », 159, 
161 n, 163, 167, 168, 171, 173, 178, 

" Presentiments," 168 n. 

Primitivism, 52, 53-5, 63, 71-2, 132-3, 
156, 162, 168, 178. 

Proceedings of the American Philo- 
sophical Society, report receipt of 
Bartram's Travels, 11; record a con- 
tribution on native vines, 11. 

Promontories, 85, 86, 102, 105, 133. 

Publications of the Modern Language 
Association, 40, 195. 

" Puc-Puggy," 30. 

Purchas, Samuel, 145. 

Pyle, Howard, on John Bartram's cu- 
riosity, 2 ; describes John Bartram's 
departure, 22. 

Quakerism, on slavery, 17; influence 
of on William Bartram, 30; benig- 
nity and informality as elements of, 
62 ; influence of on Bartram's dic- 
tion, 111, 113; influence of Bar- 
tram's on Wordsworth, 159, 175-6. 

Queries about Indians, 108. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 39. 

Randall, John H., 26, 38. 

Randolph, Isham, 6. 

" Reading of Southey and Coleridge, 
The," 130 ». 

Recluse, The, 169, 173. 

Reisen durch Nord- und Sud- Karolina, 
38, 90, 101, 111, 112-3. 

'" Religious Musings," 144-5. 

Revolt of Islam, The, 188-9. 

Reynolds, Myra, on English poets' in- 
terest in nature, 127. 

Richardson, Charles F., 2 «. 

Road to Xanadu, The, on Bartram's 
alligators, 93; on Bartram's impres- 
sion on S. T. Coleridge, 128; on 
date of '" Lewti," 129; on indebted- 
ness of "Lewti" to Bartram, 142; 
on date of Coleridge's purchase of 
Bartram's Travels, 130k; on date 
of Osorio, 130; on indebtedness 
of Osorio to Bartram, 130; on 
indebtedness of " The Ancient 
Mariner" to Bartram, 134, 135-9; 
Lane Cooper's review of, 1 36-7 ; on 
indebtedness of " Kubla Khan " to 
Bartram, 145-7; on Coleridge's 
faulty recollection from Bartram, 
148-9 n ; on indebtedness of Words- 
worth's " Ruth " to Bartram, 156, 
159; parallels in Dorothy Words- 



worth's Journal and Bartram's 
Travels, 111; on Hearn's indebted- 
ness to Bartram, 194. 

Robinson Crusoe, 78, 79. 

Rogers, Samuel, possible indebtedness 
of his Voyage of Columbus to Bar- 
tram, 189. 

Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 42, 56, 57. 

Rush, Benjamin, visits Bartram's gar- 
den, 6; his Essay, 20; visits Wil- 
liam Bartram, 25. 

"Ruth," 130, 132, 150, 151-9, 160, 
161, 163, 168, 172, 174, 190. 

Sabin, Joseph, 5 n. 

St. Johns (San Juan) River, 8, 9, 53, 
59, 71, 72, 74, 75, 84, 86, 87, 88, 
95, 131, 196. 

St. Pierre, Bernardin de, 42. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Eng- 
lish Romantic School, 188. 

Saturday Review of Literature, The, 
22, 101, 115, 148. 

Savanna crane, description of, 97, 105 ; 
use of by Coleridge in " This Lime- 
Tree Bower My Prison," 129-30; 
used by Wordsworth in " Ruth," 
151; use of by Wordsworth in 
" Hoffer," 160; use of by Words- 
worth in Guide to the Lakes and 
The Recluse, 169-71; used by 
Chateaubriand, 197. 

Schwartz, William Leonard, 182 n. 

Scientific Monthly, 2 n, 4, 5, 14, 23, 

Seasons, The, " Winter," 50; " Spring," 
50, 51 n. 

Sentiment de la nature, the movement 
of, 13. 

Shaftesbury, Anthony A. C, 40, 106. 

Shakespeare, 139. 

" She Was a Phantom of Delight," 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, indebtedness of 
The Revolt of Islam to Bartram, 
188; indebtedness of " Indian Seren- 
ade" to Coleridge, 188; influence 
on Chivers, 193. 

Shelvocke, Captain George, 156 n. 

Short, Dr. Thomas, Medicina Britan- 
nica, 5. 

" Sketch of John and William Bar- 
tram," 7, 23, 45, 49. 

Sloane, Sir Hans, 6; Natural History 
of Jamaica, 19. 

Smellie, William, Philosophy of Na- 
tural History, 20. 

Smith, Captain John, 39. 

Smithsonian Institution, 58, 59, 61. 

Snake bird, 21, 97, 107, 109, 128. 

Snakes, 49; water-snakes, 92, 94-5, 
137; rattlesnakes, 138, 191; coach- 
whip snake's battle with a hawk, 
140, 144, 189; their power to 
charm prey, l4l, 190-1 ; Southey's 
use of, 179; Chateaubriand's use 
of, 196; black snake, 197. . 

" Song of the American Indian," 182. 

" Song of the Araucans," 180. 

" Song of the Chikkasah Widow," 

Songs of the American Indians, 180, 

Sotheby & Company, 178. 

Sounds, notation of, 103; of storms, 
131-2, 135-6; of owls, 103, 133, 
137; of alligators, 104, 139. 

Southey, Robert, on his readings, 130 «; 
catalogue of his library, 178; Life 
and Correspondence of, 178, 180; 
indebtedness of Modoc to Bartram, 
179, 180; Poetical Works of, 179; 
sources of his American lore, 180; 
sources of American lore in his 
Common Place Books, 180; indebted- 
ness of Songs of the American In- 
dians to Bartram, 180-1. 

Southey, Thomas, 180 n. 

Souvenirs d'Amerique, 187. 

Sparks, Jared, 11 «. 

Spectator papers, 19. 

Squier, E. G., 60, 61, 101. 

" Stanzas Suggested . . . OflF St. Bees' 
Heads," 174. 

" Stanzas written in my Pocket-Copy 
of Thomson's " Castle of Indolence,' " 

Stone, Witmer, 97 n. 

Storms, Bartram's description of, 99, 
110, 131-2; Coleridge's use of Bar- 
tram's, 132, 135, 136, 137, 144 », 
145; Wordsworth's use of Bartram's, 
174; Chateaubriand's use of Bar- 
tram's, 197. 

" Stranger in Louisiana, The," 187. 

Studies in Philology, 57. 

Style, Bartram's subjective element of, 
62, 85, 104; Bartram's notation of 
sense impressions, 87, 89, 105; com- 
ments on Bartram's style quoted, 
101; rhapsodic, 102-3, 106; pic- 
torial, 107-9; Bartram's " raccourci " 
method, 110; diction, 110-16; in- 
fluence of Bartram's diction on 



Wordsworth's diction, 151, 158, 168; 
influence of Bartram's diction on 
that of FeHcia Hemans, 187; Bar- 
tram's sense of prose rhythm, 116; 
narrative element, 116-22; influence 
of Bartram's style on Chateaubriand, 

Sublime, the, as element of landscape, 
106, 161. 

Sunrise, description of, 102. 

'" Surprising Account of American 
Crocodiles," 93. 

Swanton, John R., on Bartram's style, 
58; his references to Bartram, 59- 
60, 61. 

Systema Naturae, 19. 

Table-Talk, 149. 

" Tables Turned, The," 176. 

" Tale of Paraguay, A," 181. 

Tempest, The, 136. 

Tennyson, Alfred Lord, indebtedness 
of In Memoriam to Bartram, 190; 
indebtedness of " The Ring," to 
Bartram, 191. 

" Tennyson and Wordsworth," 190. 

" This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison," 

"' Thomas Holley Chivers," 193. 

Thomas Holley Chivers, Friend of Poe, 

Thomson, Charles, William Bartram's 
tutor, 7, 111. 

Thomson, James, 40, 49, 50, 51, 112. 

Thoreau, Henry David, 192 ; reference 
to Bartram in Walden, 192; refer- 
ence to Bartram in Excursions, 192. 

Tigers, Zimmerman's and Bartram's 
comments on use of name, 90-1 ; 
Eggleston's comment on term, 91 ; 
Bowles's use of, 182. 

Tobin, James, 149. 

Townsend, John Wilson, 193. 

Tracy, H. C, 98 «, 101, 114. 

Transactions of the American Ethno- 
logical Society, 28, 60, 61, 108. 

Transactions of the Royal Society of 
Literature, 34, 129 «, 134, 138. 

Travels in America (Ashe), 162. 

Travels in America and Italy, see 
Chateaubriand, F. A. 

Travels in North America (Weld), 
. 183. 

Travels into North America, see Kalm, 

" Travels of William Bartram, The," 
in the Nation, 111. 

" Travels of William Bartram, The," 
in the Saturday Review of Literature, 
22, 148. 

Travels through America by Captains 
Lewis and Clarke, 1804-5-6, 183. 

Travels through North and South 
Carolina, etc., 7, 10, 15, 16, 20 «, 
21, 24, 26, 27-8, 29-30, 31, 32, 33, 
35, 36, 38, 41, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, 
49, 51-5, 56-8, 59, 60, 61-4, 65, 68, 
71-99, 102-14, 116-22, 127, 128, 
129, 130, 131 n, 132-40, 142, 143, 
145-8, 150-8, 161-5, 167, 168, 170, 
171-2, 174-5, 176-81, 183-6, 188-9, 
191-4, 196, 197, 198, 199. 

Travels through the Interior Parts of 
North America, see Carver, Jonathan. 

Travels to Discover the Source of the 
Nile, 144 n. 

Treatment of Nature in English Poetry 
betwen Pope and Wordsworth, The, 
see Reynolds, Myra. 

True, F. W., 93. 

Une femme poete au declin du roman- 
tisme anglais: Felicia Hemans, 184. 

Universe, The, 50. 

University of California Publications, 

Useful Aquatic Reptiles and Batra- 
chians of the United States, The, 93. 

Van Doren, Mark, his edition of the 
Travels, 45 n, 48 n, 62 n, 111, 148. 

Voyage en Amerique, Le, 195. 

Voyage into Spitzbergen and Green- 
land, 135 «. 

Voyage of Columbus, 189. 

Voyage Round the World, A, 156 n. 

Voyage to the South Sea, 151 n. 

Walden, 192. 

Wanderings in South America, 173, 

"Wanderings of Cain, The," 139, l4l, 

144, 150. 
Washington, George, visits Bartram's 

garden, 6. 
Waterton, Charles, 173, 181. 
Weld, Isaac, 183. 
Whip-poor-will, 103, 162, 169, 172-3, 

181 and «, 197. 
" Wild Indian's Love-Chaunt, The," 




Wilderness plot, 134, 142, 145, 146, 
192, 193. 

William Wordsworth, his Life, Works, 
and Influences, 150 «. 

Williams, Roger, 180. 

Wilson, Alexander, acquaintance with 
William Bartram, 6; invites Wil- 
liam Bartram on ornithological ex- 
pedition, 11; letter to Thomas Jef- 
ferson, 11; recommended by Bar- 
tram for Louisiana exploration, 12 ; 
assisted by William Bartram, 13; 
sends Bartram imitations of birds 
for correction, 28; his list of birds, 
29, 96; acknowledge's Bartram's 
influence, 102; referred to by 
Thoreau, 192. 

Winchelsea, Lady, 40. 

Windsor Forest, 40. 

Wolves, description of, 89-90; Cole- 
ridge's use of, 137, l4l; Words- 
worth's use of, 172. 

Wonderful Magazine, The, 93. 

Wood, William, The New England 
Prospect, 39. 

Woodberry, George Edward, 188. 

WooUey, Mary E., 199. 

Woolman, John, Journal, 20, 180. 

ITordsworth, 166, 175. 

Wordsworth, Dorothy, 166 «; proba- 
bility of her reading Bartram's 
Travels, 176; Journals of, 111 
description of wild flowers, 177 
indebtedness of " Floating Island ' 
to Bartram, 177-8. 

Wordsworth, William, Bartram's in- 
fluence on, 56, 59, 115; Aldous 
Huxley on, 72 ; indebtedness of his 
"Ruth" to Bartram, 130, 132, 150, 
151-9, 160, 163, 168, 172, 174, 190; 
auroras in, 135 «; Coleridge's com- 
ment on in terms of Bartram, 148; 
Lane Cooper and Lienemann on his 
reading, 149; Lyrical Ballads, 149; 
Letters of the Wordsworth Family 
quoted on his interest in travel 
books, 149; date of his reading 
Bartram, 150, 176; indebtedness of 

The Borderers to Bartram, 150, 164; 
indebtedness of The Prelude to Bar- 
tram, 159, 161, 163-4, 168, 171, 
173; indebtedness of T^e £xr«fi/o« 
to Bartram, 160, 162, 164, 165, 166, 

168, 173; indebtedness of Guide to 
the Lakes, 166, 167, 169-70, 171, 
186; indebtedness of ""She Was a 
Phantom of Delight " to Bartram, 
167; indebtedness of " Stanzas writ- 
ten in my Pocket-Copy of Thom- 
son's 'Castle of Indolence,'" 168; 
indebtedness of "' Presentiments," 
168 «; indebtedness of The Recluse, 

169, 173; indebtedness of Eccle- 
siastical Sonnets, 172; indebtedness 
of "A Morning Exercise," 172; in- 
debtedness of " The Blind Highland 
Boy," 173; indebtedness of '"Ad- 
dress to My Infant Daughter Dora," 
173-4; indebtedness of "" The Kitten 
and the Falling Leaves," 174; in- 
debtedness of " Stanzas Suggested 
... Off St. Bees' Heads," 174; in- 
debtedness of "" Expostulation and 
Reply," 175; indebtedness of "The 
Tables Turned," 176; "I Wan- 
dered Lonely as a Cloud," similarity 
of to Dorothy Wordsworth's entry 
in Journal, 111. 

" Wordsworth in the Tropics," 72. 
"Wordsworth's Sources," 136. 
Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, 

\Y^orks of Mrs. Hemans, 184, 185. 
Writings of Henry David Thoreau, 

The, 192. 

Youmans, W. J., on John Bartram's 
scientific accomplishments, 4. 

Zapolya, 140, 14 1. 

Zimmerman, E. A. W., on Linnaeus, 
37-8; translates Travels, 38; com- 
ments on term " tyger," 90; corrects 
Bartram's style, 101, 111, 112-3; 
disseminates knowledge of Bartram,